White Sox ace Chris Sale is a strikeout machine. After fanning 15 batters against the Cubs last Sunday, the southpaw struck out 14 batters over seven innings last night as part of an 11-4 win over the Mariners.
Sale held the Mariners scoreless over the first six innings before giving up a three-run homer to Mark Trumbo in the seventh. It was the lone blemish in another dominating outing. He allowed just four hits and one walk while amassing 22 swinging strikes.
Sale now has 12 double-digit strikeout games in his 24 starts this season. He leads the majors with 222 strikeouts over 164 1/3 innings. He projects to get around eight more starts this season, so he still has a chance at 300 strikeouts. No pitcher has reached 300 strikeouts in a season since Randy Johnson (334) and Curt Schilling (316) each got there in 2002 while pitching for the Diamondbacks.
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.