San Francisco got a first-hand look at Norichika Aoki while beating Kansas City in the World Series and now the Giants have signed the 33-year-old outfielder.
John Shea of the San Francisco Chronicle reports that it’s a one-year deal worth $4 million and includes a 2016 team option with a $700,000 buyout. Seems like a bargain.
Aoki has his flaws, chief among them sometimes looking like a mess defensively with poor routes, but his defensive numbers have actually been pretty good and he’s a career .287 hitter with a .353 on-base percentage and as many walks as strikeouts during three seasons in America.
Aoki will take over in left field, where the Giants used Michael Morse for most of the regular season and then turned to journeyman first baseman Travis Ishikawa in the playoffs.
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.