Twins outfield prospect Byron Buxton didn’t get a hit in his major league debut on Sunday, going 0-for-4 with a pair of strikeouts, but still managed to make an impact. He scored the Twins’ go-ahead and eventual game-winning run from first base in the top of the ninth inning against the Rangers.
Eduardo Escobar had led off the top of the inning with a double, but was caught between second and third base when Buxton tapped a grounder back to reliever Shawn Tolleson. Brian Dozier popped up in the infield for the second out, leaving Buxton on first base. Eddie Rosario then ripped a 2-0 off-speed pitch from Tolleson into the gap in right-center. Buxton read it perfectly and scored easily from first base to put the Twins up 4-3, the score by which they would go on to win.
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.