Astros' Justin Verlander becomes 18th pitcher with 3,000 strikeouts

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Justin Verlander #35 of the Houston Astros acknowledges the fans, cheering his 300th career strikeout thrown in the 4th inning against the Los Angeles Angels at Angel Stadium of Anaheim on September 28, 2019 in Anaheim, California

ANAHEIM, Calif. - Houston Astros ace Justin Verlander has become the 18th major league pitcher to reach 3,000 career strikeouts.

The 36-year-old right-hander entered Saturday night's game against the Los Angeles Angels with 2,994 strikeouts. He achieved the milestone in the fourth inning when he got Kole Calhoun swinging at a slider. Calhoun reached first, though, on a wild pitch and Andrelton Simmons then gave Los Angeles a 3-0 lead with a two-run homer to left-center.

Verlander's feat was recognized on the scoreboard at Angels Stadium and he was congratulated by teammates in the Astros dugout at the end of the inning.

Now in his 15th big league season, Verlander is the second pitcher to reach it this season. New York Yankees left-hander CC Sabathia accomplished the feat on April 30 against Arizona. Of the 16 retired pitchers with more than 3,000 strikeouts, 14 are in the Hall of Fame.

Verlander has the second 20-win season of his career and pitched his third no-hitter on Sept. 1 at Toronto. He is also one of the favorites to win his second AL Cy Young.

Verlander reached the mark in his last start of the regular season. His next game will be in the playoffs for the AL West champion Astros.

Prior to Sabathia, Atlanta's John Smoltz was the last to make it to 3,000 strikeouts, in 2008.

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