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AL CY YOUNG AWARD

Houston’s Justin Verlander wins third AL Cy Young Award, second as the unanimous selection

Justin Verlander won the AL Cy Young Award for the third time, after winning in 2019 with the Astros and in 2011 with the Tigers, when he was also AL MVP.Chris Szagola/Associated Press

HOUSTON — Justin Verlander of the world champion Houston Astros was the unanimous selection for the American League Cy Young Award on Wednesday night.

Verlander and National League winner Sandy Alcantara were both unanimous winners. It’s the second time the winners in both leagues were unanimous since the award began in 1956 and the first since Detroit’s Denny McLain in the AL and St. Louis’ Bob Gibson in the NL swept the voting in 1968.

The 39-year-old Verlander, who also won the award in 2019 after winning both MVP and the Cy Young in 2011, becomes the 11th player to win it three times. He also won unanimously in 2011.

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He said this one has a different meaning.

“It shows that I’m at a different point in my life,” Verlander said. “I will always remember this Cy Young as looking back at the growth of me as a father and as a person, and just also the the rehab and all the hard work that went into the rehab and how I was just so committed to it was going to go well and I was going to come back and be me.”

Verlander led the majors with a 1.75 ERA — the lowest of his 17-year career — after missing almost all of the previous two seasons recovering from Tommy John surgery. He becomes the fourth AL pitcher with two unanimous victories, joining Roger Clemens (1986 Red Sox, 1998 Blue Jays), Pedro Martinez (1999, 2000 Red Sox) and Johan Santana (2004, 2006 Twins).

Verlander's 1.75 ERA was lowest in the majors this past season.David J. Phillip/Associated Press

Verander led the Astros to the best record in the AL, and while the postseason doesn't count for the award, he got his first career World Series win in Game 5 as Houston beat Philadelphia in six games.

Behind Verlander, who was the 11th AL pitcher to win unanimously, was Dylan Cease of the Chicago White Sox with 97 points and 14 second-place votes and Toronto’s Alek Manoah with 87 points and seven second-place votes. The three pitchers were named on every ballot.

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Verlander’s 18 wins led the AL, and he had 185 strikeouts to give him 3,198 in his career, which ranks first among active players.