Chirinos Delivers Seven Strong Innings In Start
The Tampa Bay Rays defeated the Houston Astros 3-1 on Sunday afternoon to win their first series of the season by taking 3-of-4 from Houston.
Wade Miley (0-1, 4.50 ERA) takes the loss for Houston who fall to 1-3 on the season.
The plan was to go with the opener on Sunday afternoon but after needing 11 innings over the first three games Kevin Cash turned to Yonny Chirinos for the traditional start.
Chirinos delivered the quality and depth that was needed and did so in spectacular fashion facing just one batter over the minimum over seven innings. The only run he allowed was on a solo homer by Jake Marisnick in the third inning. Over his seven innings of work he allowed two hits (both by Marisnick) while striking out six and walking none.
When asked if the start nudges Chirinos more into the traditional starter role, Kevin Cash said he’d rather keep the staff’s versatility. If the Rays need a start they will turn to Chirinos, Ryan Yarbrough, Wilmer Font, or Jalen Beeks. “We’re not trying to gauge if you do this so well then we’re going to let you start. We think that our best matchups are when we can be versatile throughout the entire pitching staff.”
He was staked to an early 1-0 lead as Austin Meadows delivered a 2-out RBI single scoring Tommy Pham with 2-out in the first inning. Pham had singled early in the inning to extend his on-base streak to 36-games. It’s the longest active streak in the majors and third longest in club history.
After Marisnick tied the game with a homer in the top of the third the Rays came back to take a 3-1 lead on a 2-run homer by Austin Meadows.
Austin Meadows blasts a 2-run home run to deep right-center field. 💥🔥
— FOX Sports Florida & Sun (@FOXSportsFL) March 31, 2019
Meadows, who drove in all three Rays runs, is off to a good start to the 2019 season. “I feel like I’m seeing the ball well. I’m just being aggressive up there.” He said. “I fell like I’m taking advantage of pitchers mistakes.”
The bullpen was called upon to get six outs and protect the two run lead. Cash used a trio of relievers to get through the eighth. Adam Kolarek opened the frame and allowed a single to pinch hitter Tyler White. Chaz Roe entered to retire Yuli Gurriel on a line drive to second. Jalen Beeks came in to face pinch hitter Michael Brantley and induced a double play ball to end the inning.
With Jose Alvarado closing the last two nights, the Rays turned to Diego Castillo for the close. He retired the first two batters before issuing the games only walk of the game to George Springer. Altuve ended the game with a bunt attempt that hung up long enough for third baseman Daniel Robertson to make the catch. It was Castillo’s first save of the season.
The Rays bullpen was impressive against Houston logging 13 scoreless innings over the four game series.
Wendle Departs With Injury:
Joey Wendle had to depart the game with a strained hamstring and is considered day to day. The injury was suffered when Jake Marisnick slid in hard on a strike them out throw them out in the sixth inning. Rays catchers threw out four of five runners trying to steal during the four games series.
— Tampa Bay Rays (@RaysBaseball) March 31, 2019
“I felt a little something grab there, just tightened up pretty quick.” Wendle said. “Wasn’t something I wanted to risk, definitely not a situation where I wanted to hurt it any further. I’ll go get an MRI and we’ll no more after that.”
Wade Miley worked the first six innings for Houston allowing three runs on eight hits while striking out four and walking none.
Josh James followed Miley to the mound and worked two innings retiring all six Rays he faced including four by strikeout.
Up Next: Rays and Rockies For Three
Tampa Bay will host the Colorado Rockies for three games beginning Monday evening. Ryne Stanek (0-0, 0.00 ERA) will get his first opener duty of the season for Tampa Bay. The Rockies will counter with Chad Bettis who will be making his first start of the season.