HOUSTON — Bartolo Colon carried a perfect game into the eighth inning and Robinson Chirinos drove in all three runs for the Texas Rangers during their 3-1 victory over the Houston Astros in 10 innings Sunday night.
The 44-year-old Colon turned back the clock and dominated the defending World Series champions for seven innings, retiring his first 21 batters in an entertaining pitchers’ duel with Astros ace Justin Verlander.
Colon walked Carlos Correa on a 3-1 pitch to start the eighth before Josh Reddick lined an 0-2 delivery down the right-field line for a double that put runners at second and third, spoiling the no-hit bid as well.
Opposing fans in Houston gave Colon a standing ovation, and he clapped his bare hand softly against the outside of his glove. Two outs later, he was pulled with the score tied at 1.
A fan favourite all around the majors, the beefy right-hander nicknamed "Big Sexy" is on his ninth team in his last 11 seasons.
Chirinos homered in the third for the only hit off Verlander, who struck out 11 over eight innings in his longest outing this season. That was the lone hit in the game until Reddick doubled.
In the 10th, Chirinos launched a two-run double off Hector Rondon (1-1) that short-hopped the wall in straightaway centre field. Jake Diekman pitched out of trouble in the bottom half for his first save.
With runners at the corners, Jake Marisnick struck out swinging to end it and slammed his bat to the ground. Marisnick was angry that Diekman’s 3-1 pitch was called a strike even though it looked outside.
Keone Kela (2-0) tossed a scoreless ninth for the win.
Colon threw 96 pitches, 66 for strikes, and kept the powerful Astros off balance by changing speeds and working expertly to both edges of the plate. He struck out seven in 7 2/3 innings but ended up with a no-decision after Yuli Gurriel tied the score at 1 with a sacrifice fly.
On his way from the mound to the dugout, the good-humoured Colon gestured toward Reddick at third base with a quick flick of his hand.
Moments earlier, Colon’s teammates left him all alone on the bench — adhering to traditional superstition — as he grinned and tossed a ball to himself.
Colon’s longest no-hit bid came with Cleveland on Sept. 18, 2000, when he held the New York Yankees hitless for 7 1/3 innings. He finished with a one-hitter in a 2-0 win at Yankee Stadium.
Kenny Rogers threw Texas’ most recent no-hitter, in July 1994.
Houston has lost four of five since starting the season 9-2.
Texas scored eight of its 11 runs in the series on seven homers. The Rangers totalled seven home runs in their 10 previous games.
The Rangers claimed INF-OF Renato Nunez off waivers from Oakland. Nunez will join the Rangers on Monday when they open a three-game series at Tampa Bay.
Rangers: RHP Tim Lincecum was transferred to the 60-day disabled list after he started the season on the 10-day DL due to a blister on his right middle finger. "Just feel like with him being a number of days away from actually facing hitters, putting him on the 60-day gives a little more room to play with and the opportunity to slow the process down," manager Jeff Banister said.
Astros: LHP Tony Sipp (right oblique soreness) played catch again, manager A.J. Hinch said.
Rangers: LHP Martin Perez (1-1, 11.88 ERA) will make his third start of the season Monday against the Rays. Perez is coming off the shortest start by any Texas starter, lasting just three innings and giving up eight runs.
Astros: LHP Dallas Keuchel (0-2, 4.20) starts a four-game series Monday at Seattle. Keuchel has never opened 0-3. In his last start, he lasted just four innings.