Houston Astros pitcher Justin Verlander lifted both his arms aloft then bent to his knees with the clenched fists of a victorious warrior before his teammates thronged him from all sides.
Verlander was not just not marking any old win. The right-hander tossed a no-hitter Sunday against the Toronto Blue Jays.
It is his third career no-hitter, putting Verlander among an elite group of just six other major league pitchers with three or more no-hitters under their belt. It's a group that includes Cy Young, the namesake for the award that goes to the best pitcher each year in the American and National Leagues.
"I'd be lying if I said I didn't know that the list of guys who have thrown three instead of two gets pretty small — some of the guys I've idolized," Verlander said after the game. "It's a special moment. I'm so happy to be able to celebrate this with my teammates."
Verlander, 36, struck out 14 and allowed just one base runner after walking Cavan Biggio in the first inning.
Propelled by Verlander's blazing fastball, the Astros topped the Blue Jays 2-0.
His last no-hitter was also against Toronto, in 2011, when he was throwing for the Detroit Tigers.
He now has the bragging rights to becoming the first pitcher to throw a no-hitter twice against a team in its own stadium.
While Verlander now joins a small cadre of pitchers who have hurled three or more no-hitters, the top record-holder belongs to Nolan Ryan, who completed seven career no-hitters.