Pirates closer Tony Watson blew another save chance on Wednesday, surrendering a game-tying two-run home run to Trey Mancini with two outs in the bottom of the ninth inning in Baltimore. He also blew the save on Tuesday and overall has blown five save chances in 15 opportunities this season.
The Pirates head back to open a four-game set at home against the Marlins on Thursday, part of a 10-game homestand. Manager Clint Hurdle said, “We’ll have an opportunity to discuss some things on the way back (to Pittsburgh). We’ve got to assess who’s available (Thursday) as well. So that will be a thought,” Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reports.
Hurdle also said the idea of moving Juan Nicasio into the closer’s role “was given some serious thought.” For now, it sounds like Watson will be given a chance to work through his issues, though.
Nicasio, 30, owns a 1.35 ERA with a 25/8 K/BB ratio in 26 2/3 innings this season.
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.