HOUSTON (AP) — Houston's Justin Verlander in the American League and Miami’s Sandy Alcantara in the National League were both unanimous selections for the Cy Young Award on Wednesday night.
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.
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, 1998), Pedro Martinez (1999, 2000) and Johan Santana (2004, 2006).
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.
Alcantara had a 2.28 ERA while pitching a major league-best 228 2/3 innings and six compete games. It’s the first Cy Young for the 27-year-old from the Dominican Republic, who becomes the first Marlins player to receive the honor.
Alcantara received all 30 first-place votes, the 15th time the NL has had a unanimous winner. Atlanta’s Max Fried was second with 72 points, including 10 second-place votes, and Los Angeles Dodgers lefty Julio Urías was third 66 points and seven second-place votes.
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.
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.
Alcantara’s six complete games were the most in the majors since Chris Sale had six in 2016. The two-time All-Star went 14-9 and threw seven or more innings in 13 straight starts from May 11-July 15, which was the longest such streak since 2014.
Alcantara’s innings pitched and wins were both career highs and his ERA was his best in six seasons and ranked second in the NL.
He joins Martinez (1997) as the only player born in the Dominican Republic to win the NL award. Martinez also won twice in the AL (1999, 2000) and the other Dominican winner in the AL was Bartolo Colon in 2005.
Urías was 17-7 and led the NL with a 2.16 ERA to help the Dodgers lead the majors with 111 wins in the regular season. The left-hander had 166 strikeouts after a 2021 season in which he led the majors with 20 wins.
Fried was 14-7 with a 2.48 ERA and 170 strikeouts. He was a first-time All-Star and helped lead the Braves to their fifth straight NL East crown.
Cease was 14-8 and ranked second to Verlander with a 2.20 ERA. He had a career-high 227 strikeouts and went 14 consecutive starts this summer without allowing more than one earned run.
Manoah went 16-7 with a 2.24 ERA in his second season. He had 180 strikeouts and went 4-0 with a 0.88 ERA in his last six starts to help the Blue Jays make the playoffs.
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Kristie Rieken, The Associated Press