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Verlander looks ahead after no-hitter

Verlander looks ahead after no-hitter

DETROIT -- Justin Verlander was walking into a local restaurant for a postgame dinner Tuesday evening when the patrons gave him a standing ovation. It sounded familiar.

"My second one of the night," Verlander said with a laugh Wednesday.

That second one, however, was a new one for him. The way his career is going, his list of feats left to accomplish is shortening fast.

In about a year and a half in the Major Leagues, Verlander has a Rookie of the Year award, a World Series appearance and now a no-hitter to his credit. Along the way, he has posted a 24-11 record, not including losses in two spot starts in 2005, and has established himself as one of the best young pitchers in baseball.

With 27 outs on Tuesday, he has made a place for himself in history.

"You couldn't really ask for a better way to start off, except maybe winning the World Series," he said.

As he sat down to dinner with teammate Chad Durbin, among others, the magnitude of his latest feat seemed to soak in.

"Really, it kind of came and went," he said. "I'd just go into a daze for a minute like, 'Did that really just happen?' It was pretty surreal. Then I'd snap out of it and it would happen again a little bit later."

Verlander spent the day after his gem trying to look ahead to his next start. He did some running Wednesday afternoon, then took batting practice with the rest of the Tigers rotation in advance of a nine-game National League road trip that will have him batting in his next two starts at Philadelphia and Atlanta. As daunting a challenge as it could be to try to join Johnny Vander Meer in the back-to-back no-hitter club, looking for his first career hit could be another challenge.

Before he could do that, however, he had a slew of congratulatory messages on his phone from family and friends. He drew some good-natured ribbing when a clubhouse attendant delivered a bouquet of flowers sent by Old Dominion University, where he attended college and played. The carnations were blue and white, his college and now his Major League colors.

Justin Verlander, No-hitter

He had enough messages immediately after the game and continuing on that his inbox filled up several times. He still hasn't been able to listen to or read them all. He'd eventually like to.

Once he's done with that, he'll start with a blank slate. He doesn't look back often, which might be one reason he has been able to handle all he has accomplished so soon without becoming too comfortable. He doesn't believe in superstition, either.

"Not really," he said. "I try not to be. We've got a TV down in there for the guys to chart with. And it was a little bit cooler down there, so I sat down there for a little bit last night."

Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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