Rangers pitcher Colon flirts with perfect game in Texas win

Bartolo Colon is the oldest active player in Major League Baseball

Washington (United States) (AFP) – Texas Rangers pitcher Bartolo Colon hurled seven perfect innings at Houston before surrendering a hit, sparking his team to a 3-1 win over the Astros in a Major League Baseball matchup Sunday.

The 44-year-old Dominican right-hander retired the first 21 Astros batters he faced before walking Carlos Correa to open the eighth inning. Josh Reddick followed with a double to right field to end Colon’s no-hit bid and set up a game-tying sacrifice fly.

Texas won in 10 innings on a two-run double by Robinson Chirinos, whose third-inning home run had given the Rangers the early lead.

Colon, who turns 45 next month, was the oldest pitcher to take a no-hit bid into the eighth inning since Gaylord Perry at 44 for Kansas City in 1983.

Nolan Ryan became the oldest major league pitcher to throw a no-hitter in 1991 when he achieved the feat for Texas at age 44. At the time he was 236 days younger than Colon is now.

Colon and Houston’s Justin Verlander were the first two former Cy Young Award winners, a league’s top pitcher for a season, to meet in a Rangers’ regular-season matchup since 1981.

Colon won his in 2005 with the Los Angeles Angels while Verlander’s came in 2011 with Detroit. Colon tossed a first-pitch strike to the opening 17 batters he faced and had 0-ball, 2-strike counts on 11 of the first 15 Houston batters he faced, striking out seven.

Three relief pitchers closed out the victory for Texas over the reigning World Series champions.

In his 21-season career, Colon has only once before allowed only one hit over more than seven innings, a complete-game shutout of the New York Yankees in 2000. San Diego managed only one hit off him in seven innings last year when Colon pitched for Atlanta.