DETROIT -- The Angels were trying to get back in the game and, in the process, break up Justin Verlander's no-hitter. When they achieved those goals, their thoughts turned to winning the game.
Verlander, throwing harder, as only he can, as the game wore on, had other ideas. The Detroit ace whipped a 101-mph heater past Torii Hunter to end a wild eighth inning with a runner on second, and when Jose Valverde took care of the final three outs, the Tigers owned a dramatic, 3-2 decision over the Angels in front of 36,878 at Comerica Park.
"That's crazy," Hunter said, wonder in his eyes. "The guy throws 101 on his 114th pitch -- on the black."
Verlander, looking for his second no-hitter of the season and third of his career, settled for a one-hitter over eight innings and his 15th victory, denying fellow Cy Young Award candidate Jered Weaver his 15th win and snapping his personal winning streak at eight games.
It became heated right before Maicer Izturis ended Verlander's no-hit bid with a two-out, line-drive single to left, driving in the second run of the eighth.
Weaver, upset over the way Carlos Guillen turned his home run trot into a personal celebration in the seventh inning, was ejected for throwing up and in to the next hitter, Alex Avila. The benches and Weaver had been warned by home-plate umpire Hunter Wendelstedt as Guillen completed his Rickey Henderson impersonation touring of the bases.
The first pitch to Avila "got away from me," Weaver said, claiming he wasn't "trying to hurt anybody," but Wendelstedt obviously felt differently.
"It's the way the game is these days," Weaver said. "I don't know why he had to warn everybody right after the home run. I'm OK with that. When you do something too much, there's a line that needs to be drawn. If that's the way they want to play, OK."
Weaver had some words with the Tigers in their dugout on his way to the clubhouse after getting the boot, but didn't care to elaborate afterward.
Leading off the top of the eighth inning, Erick Aybar tried to break up the no-hitter and get something started. It worked. Verlander threw wildly past first, and it was ruled a two-base error. Angels manager Mike Scioscia felt it should have been ruled the Angels' first hit, but that would have to wait four batters, until Izturis lined his RBI single to left.
Aybar moved to third on Mark Trumbo's infield out and scored when the Tigers mishandled a rundown on Peter Bourjos' grounder to third baseman Don Kelly. Izturis, a .400 career hitter in 25 at-bats against Verlander, drove a changeup to left to score Bourjos and make it a one-run game.
Magglio Ordonez's two-run homer in the third inning had staked Verlander to an early lead in his hotly anticipated duel with Weaver.
It was a breaking ball that stayed up in the hitting zone that Ordonez lifted into the seats in left to give the Tigers the lead in the third inning. Weaver had walked Kelly leading off the inning.
"We knew it was going to be a tight game," Scioscia said. "For them, it was mistakes hit out of the park. For us, it's little ball."
Verlander moved to 15-5, while Weaver fell to 14-5.
Scioscia felt it was a typical Verlander effort. The big right-hander added velocity after the middle innings, moving from 94-97 mph to 99-101 mph.
"As the game picks up," Scioscia said, "he definitely picks up steam, too. That's what happened."
Weaver didn't care for the way Ordonez watched the ball's flight on his home run and slowly made his way around the bases, and evidently let the veteran know it. Ordonez's response was that he can't run any faster at this stage of his career.
To keep things interesting, Verlander got some help from his defense with one out in the second inning when second baseman Guillen back-handed Alberto Callaspo's hot shot for the out at first.
A similar play by the Angels' Howard Kendrick had preserved Ervin Santana's no-hitter in the seventh inning on Wednesday in Cleveland.
Verlander had retired 11 in a row when he walked Bobby Abreu in the fourth with two outs. Abreu walked again in the seventh with one away, but Vernon Wells' deep drive to the warning track in right was handled by Andy Dirks, who'd just been inserted for Ordonez.
Abreu walked a third time in the ninth against Valverde, who got the next three outs to finish the job. Aybar's foul popup was the final out.
The Angels finished the trip at 6-4. When they return to Angel Stadium on Tuesday night against the Twins, Santana will be performing the encore to his no-hitter in Cleveland on Wednesday.
Lyle Spencer is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.