It just got a little more difficult to manufacture a save record not held by Mariano Rivera.
The 43-year-old picked up his 40th save Tuesday against the White Sox, reaching that plateau for the ninth time in his illustrious career. That ties Trevor Hoffman for the most of all-time. No one else has more than four:
9 – Hoffman, Rivera
4 – Dennis Eckersley, Jose Mesa, Robb Nen, Francisco Rodriguez, John Wetteland
3 – Heath Bell, Armando Benitez, Francisco Cordero, Eric Gagne, Craig Kimbrel, Joe Nathan, Jeff Reardon, Jeff Shaw, Lee Smith, John Smoltz, Jose Valverde
Earlier this year, Rivera passed Hoffman for the lead in 30-save seasons, 15-14. Next on that list is Lee Smith with 10 and Billy Wagner with nine. Among active pitchers, Joe Nathan has eight (including this year) and Jonathan Papelbon seven (not yet including this year).
Rivera and Gagne are also the only relievers with a pair of 50-save seasons.
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.