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Astros’ Justin Verlander wins AL Cy Young Award; Rays’ Charlie Morton finishes third

The Mets’ Jacob deGrom wins the NL award for the second straight year.
FILE - In this July 24, 2019, file photo, Houston Astros starting pitcher Justin Verlander throws to an Oakland Athletics batter during a baseball game in Houston. Verlander has been awarded his second AL Cy Young Award. [MICHAEL WYKE | AP]
Published Nov. 14

NEW YORK — Justin Verlander has a second American League Cy Young Award.

Verlander beat out teammate Gerrit Cole and the Rays’ Charlie Morton in balloting by the Baseball Writers’ Association of America announced Wednesday night.

Verlander got 17 first-place votes. Cole, the runnerup, had 13. Morton was third; he didn’t get a first-place vote.

Mets ace Jacob deGrom won the National League prize for the second straight year. He received 29 of 30 first-place votes, becoming the 11th pitcher to win Cy Youngs in consecutive years. He and Verlander are the 20th and 21st players to win the award multiple times.

The previous repeat winner was Washington’s Max Scherzer in 2016 and ’17. Scherzer finished third in NL balloting this year, a slot behind the Dodgers’ Hyun-Jin Ryu.

Verlander, 36, won his first Cy Young in 2011 with Detroit, when he was also named MVP. Since then, he’d been a runner-up three times.

“The adversity I went through puts a new perspective on everything,” he said. “I mean, still would’ve liked to have won a couple of them.”

Verlander continued a marvelous second act to his career since a 2017 trade from Detroit to Houston.

He led the majors with 21 victories and padded his Hall of Fame resume by getting his 3,000th strikeout in his final start of the regular season. He also reached 300 punchouts in a season for the first time.

Verlander no-hit Toronto on Sept. 1, becoming the sixth pitcher with three no-hitters in a career. He joined a group that includes Hall of Famers Nolan Ryan, Sandy Koufax, Bob Feller and Cy Young, along with 1880s pitcher Larry Corcoran.

The case between Verlander and Cole was tight. Cole had more strikeouts (326) and a lower ERA (2.50), but Verlander threw 102/3 more innings and won more games. They are the first set of teammates to finish 1-2 in AL voting. That has happened five times in the NL.

Right-hander Morton, in his first season with the Rays after leaving the Astros in free agency, was 16-6 with a 3.05 ERA and 240 strikeouts in 33 starts.

DeGrom is in special company as a repeat NL winner, joining Koufax, Greg Maddux, Randy Johnson, Tim Lincecum, Clayton Kershaw and Scherzer.

“It was a dream to play this game and a dream to win one Cy Young,” deGrom said.

“To win back-to-back was a goal. It’s hard to explain. You set these goals, but it almost doesn’t feel real yet.”

The 31-year-old led the NL with 255 strikeouts and posted a 2.43 ERA. His resume was bolstered by his durability — deGrom totaled 204 innings, compared to 1721/3 for Scherzer and 1822/3 for Ryu.

A year after taking the award despite just 10 victories — fewest ever by a starting pitcher — deGrom earned 11 wins with a Mets team that’s struggled to support him.

AL Cy Young ballot of Times sports columnist John Romano:

1. Justin Verlander, Astros

2. Geritt Cole, Astros

3. Charlie Morton, Rays

4. Shane Bieber, Indians

5. Mike Minor, Rangers

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