The Oakland Athletics thought they had seen Justin Verlander at his best in Game 5 of the Division Series last year.
They were wrong.
Last year in Game 5 Verlander was terrific as he twirled a complete-game four-hit shutout where he recorded 11 strikeouts in the Tigers’ 6-0 victory. He threw 122 pitches and the A’s could square up just four.
As great as he was that night, this game he was better.
Throwing a no-hitter through 6.2 innings — Yoenis Cespedes would break up the no-no bid with a ground ball single up the middle — Verlander put up eight more zeros, this time holding the A’s to two hits in pitching the Tigers to a 3-0 victory.
Talk about being a money pitcher.
With the win, the Tigers, who trailed 2-1 in the series, advance to the ALCS against Boston beginning Saturday night.