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Bartolo Colon, 44, takes perfect game into 8th inning vs. Astros

Bartolo Colon, who turns 45 next month, flirted with history Sunday night, taking a perfect game into the eighth inning against the World Series champion Houston Astros.

A leadoff walk to Carlos Correa and a Josh Reddick double ended the bid by Colon, who would have become the oldest pitcher to throw a no-hitter.

Nolan Ryan, who threw a record seven no-hitters, threw one in 1991 at the age of 44 years, 90 days, and also threw one a year earlier.

"I don't ever think about what age I am or who is facing me,'' Colon said through an interpreter. "I always try to do my job, and I always feel happy doing my job, and that's what I think about.''

Of the first 17 batters he faced, Colon went to an 0-2 count on 10 and struck out six in that span. He entered the eighth having thrown 83 pitches, 59 for strikes and seven strikeouts.

"When I pitched seven innings perfect, I started thinking about it,'' Colon said. "I know that [Jose] Altuve and all those guys can be a hard out.''

Colon walked Correa on a 3-1 pitch to start the eighth before Reddick lined an 0-2 delivery down the right-field line for a double that put runners at second and third, spoiling the no-hitter bid as well.

"He left a changeup up, and I was looking over the plate and got enough of it to get it over the first baseman's head,'' Reddick said.

Opposing fans in Houston gave Colon a standing ovation, and he clapped his bare hand softly against the outside of his glove.

A fan favorite all around the majors, the beefy right-hander nicknamed "Big Sexy'' is on his ninth team in his past 11 seasons.

"It was probably top-three games I've ever been involved in,'' Rangers manager Jeff Banister said. "I was getting excited. You find yourself pulling for it. A lot of different things run through your mind in those types of situations. It was his game.''

Two outs later, Colon was removed with the score tied at 1, having thrown 96 pitches while lowering his season ERA to 1.45.

As he walked off the field, he glanced at Reddick on third base, and the two conversed.

"He looked at me and told me I was supposed to at least roll over it and not pull it like that,'' Reddick said. "He and I go way back from our Oakland days. I told him great job. He's one of the better guys you'll see in the game."

The Rangers ended up winning the game 3-1 in 10 innings, despite coming in as +270 underdogs at the Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook, tied for the biggest underdogs in a game this season.

That's because few would have given Colon much of a chance in his matchup with Astros ace Justin Verlander, who put up a stellar performance of his own. Verlander went eight innings and allowed just one hit, a third-inning home run by Rangers catcher Robinson Chirinos. The right-hander struck out 11 and walked just one.

"It's fun, but at the same time, you're hoping for some runs there,'' Verlander said about going toe-to-toe with Colon. "He was painting. It's like, what are you going to do? You're going to tip your cap. He did an excellent job tonight keeping our guys off-balance and not giving anyone anything to hit.''

Colon's longest no-hit bid came with the Cleveland Indians on Sept. 18, 2000, when he held the New York Yankees hitless for 7⅓ innings. Colon ended up with a one-hitter in a 2-0 win at Yankee Stadium.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.