Pittsburgh catcher Russell Martin is back off the disabled list after missing the past month with a strained hamstring and to make room for him on the roster the Pirates have designated for assignment left-hander Wandy Rodriguez.
Rodriguez has struggled to pitch through an arthritic elbow all season, posting a 6.75 ERA in six starts, and previously spent time on the disabled list. He actually pitched well in his first start back off the DL last week, but Rodriguez allowed six runs without making it out of the second inning yesterday against the Orioles to apparently convince the Pirates he wasn’t going to contribute positively any longer.
Rodriguez was acquired from the Astros in mid-2012 and pitched well for the Pirates down the stretch that season and last season, but he’s repeatedly been limited by injuries. He’s owed $13 million this year, but Houston is on the hook for the majority of that and at age 35 with free agency around the corner he wasn’t going to be part of Pittsburgh’s plans beyond this season anyway.
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.