Cubs third base prospect Kris Bryant hasn’t slowed down one bit since being promoted on June 18 from Double-A Tennessee to Triple-A Iowa and slugged his 38th home run of the season on Saturday night in Oklahoma City, home of the Astros’ Triple-A team.
Bryant is now in a deadlock with Rangers third base prospect Joey Gallo — a fellow native of Las Vegas, Nevada — for the minor league home run lead.
Since being selected second overall in the 2013 MLB Amateur Draft out of the University of San Diego, the 22-year-old Bryant has batted .340/.435/.691 with 47 homers and 129 RBI in 153 minor league games. He is not expected to join fellow Top 10 prospect Javier Baez in Chicago this year, but Bryant could very well be on the Cubs’ Opening Day roster in 2015. There’s been talk of moving the 6-foot-6 slugger to right field.
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.