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Shohei Ohtani to return to mound on Sunday


Angels P/DH Shohei Ohtani will return to the mound and start on Sunday against the Astros in Houston, per Jeff Fletcher of the Orange County Register.

Ohtani, 24, hasn’t pitched since June 6. He was diagnosed with a Grade 2 sprain of the ulnar collateral ligament in his left elbow. He returned as a hitter on July 3 and has batted .261/.333/.555 with nine home runs and 23 RBI in 133 plate appearances since then.

Overall, Ohtani is hitting .275/.352/.545 with 15 homers and 43 RBI in 262 PA in his first season in the majors. When he returns to the mound, he’ll look to improve on his 4-1 record, 3.10 ERA, and 61/20 K/BB ratio across 49 1/3 innings.

Attempting to complete cycle, Robinson Chirinos thrown out to end game

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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.