It took about seven minutes from the start of Friday’s Orioles-Tigers game for the home-plate umpire to cost Baltimore a run.
Nick Markakis was safe on a close play at home plate in the top of the first inning tonight, but he was called out by Tim Timmons, who actually might have blown two calls on the play; Markakis was trying to score on a Nate McLouth roller down the first-base line that actually looked like it was picked in foul territory. That it was ruled fair was Timmons’ call as well.
So, the Orioles lost at least one run to start off with, and now the Tigers have quickly taken a 1-0 lead on Miguel Cabrera’s homer in the bottom of the first.
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.