Astros right-hander Justin Verlander has become the 18th pitcher in MLB history with 3,000 career strikeouts. Verlander went into Saturday's game against the Angels (box score) with 2,994 career strikeouts. He had a 1-2-3 second inning, fanning Kevan Smith, Jared Walsh and Taylor Ward. In the third, Verlander struck out Kaleb Cowart and Brian Goodwin.

His strikeout to reach the milestone was against Kole Calhoun, but it was far from a typical punchout. Calhoun reached first base on the swinging third strike due to a wild pitch that got away from Astros catcher Robinson Chirinos.

Verlander finished his night with 12 strikeouts, reaching a career-high 300 for the season. Verlander and his teammate Gerrit Cole (316) became only the second set of teammates to each have 300 strikeouts in the same season. They join Randy Johnson and Curt Schilling, who accomplished the feat as teammates on the 2002 Arizona Diamondbacks.

Verlander adds to his Hall of Fame case, joining an elite group of pitchers who have reached the 3,000-strikeout mark. Fourteen of the 18 pitchers on the all-time strikeout leaderboard are Hall of Famers. The four who aren't in the Hall of Fame are Verlander and CC Sabathia -- who are still active -- along with Curt Schilling and Roger Clemens. Nolan Ryan is the all-time leader with 5,714 strikeouts. Randy Johnson (4,875), Clemens (4,672), and Steve Carlton (4,136) are the only other pitchers to reach 4,000 career strikeouts.

Verlander, 36, also made history earlier this season with his third career no-hitter. For his 15-year MLB career, Verlander owns a 224-129 record and a 3.33 ERA. The eight-time All-Star won the AL Rookie of the Year award in 2006 and took home the AL Cy Young and MVP honors in 2011. He was acquired by the Astros from the Tigers at the end of August in 2017, and he helped lead Houston to its first World Series title several weeks later.

Yankees lefty CC Sabathia also reached the 3,000 strikeout mark this season on April 30. Entering the 2019 season, Sabathia needed 14 strikeouts to reach the milestone while Verlander needed to rack up 294 strikeouts to join the exclusive club. Before Verlander and Sabathia, the last pitcher to make it to 3,000 strikeouts was Hall of Famer John Smoltz in 2008.