Victor Martinez’s seventh-inning grand slam Wednesday gave him 89 RBI with just 10 homers this year. He’s suddenly picked up the homer pace with two in his last three games, but he still has a good chance to become the first player since Jeff Cirillo in 2000 to drive in 100 runs with 12 or fewer homers.
Only nine players have pulled that off in the last 50 years:
1. Floyd Robinson (1962, CWS): 11 HR, 109 RBI
2. Wes Parker (1970, LAD): 10 HR, 111 RBI
3. Thurman Munson (1975, NYY): 12 HR, 102 RBI
4. Willie Montanez (1975, DET): 10 HR, 101 RBI
5. Keith Hernandez (1979, STL): 11 HR, 105 RBI
6. Tom Herr (1985, STL): 8 HR, 110 RBI
7. Willie McGee (1987, STL): 11 HR, 105 RBI
8. Paul Molitor (1996, MIN): 9 HR, 113 RBI
9. Jeff Cirillo (2000, COL): 11 HR, 115 RBI
Martinez has gotten the job done by hitting .327 and collecting 33 doubles this season. Everyone else on the list also hit .300 with the exception of McGee, who got his 105 RBI despite a modest .285/.312/.434 line and a 94 OPS+ in the high-offense season of 1987.
With his Astros trailing the Tigers 2-1, catcher Robinson Chirinos began his at-bat in the bottom of the ninth a triple shy of the cycle. He doubled in the second inning, singled in the fourth, and hit a solo homer in the seventh. Yordan Álvarez and Yuli Gurriel both struck out, leaving the Astros’ fate in the hands of Chirinos against Joe Jiménez. After working the count to 2-1, Chirinos slapped an 85 MPH slider to the gap in right-center field. A diving Travis Demeritte could not come up with the ball, but center fielder Harold Castro fired the ball back in to Gordon Beckham, who then made a perfect throw to Dawel Lugo at third base. Chirinos was tagged out for the final out of the game. No triple, no cycle. The Astros lost 2-1.
Chirinos was attempting to become the first Astro to hit for the cycle since Brandon Barnes on July 19, 2013 against the Mariners.
The Astros entered Wednesday’s game as the largest favorite in 15 seasons, according to ESPN’s David Purdum. The Astros were -500 per Caesars Sportsbook. Other sportsbooks had them at -550. So the Tigers’ win was quite the upset.
Justin Verlander went the distance in the loss. The only blemishes on his line were solo homers to Ronny Rodríguez in the fifth and John Hicks in the ninth. They were the only hits he allowed while walking none and striking out 11.