HOUSTON – The last-place Detroit Tigers only got two hits off of Justin Verlander on Wednesday night, but it was good enough to beat the World Series-contending Houston Astros in what was statistically the biggest MLB game upset in the last 15 years.
Depending on the betting service, Houston was at -550 to -575 to beat the Tigers on Wednesday night, meaning a bettor would have to risk $550 to $575 on the Astros to make $100 if they won.
That made Detroit the largest betting underdog in an MLB game in at least 15 years.
Going into the matchup, the Tigers were 44 wins behind the Astros -- 37-86 compared to 81-46. Verlander, perhaps the American League leader in the Cy Young award race, was set to go up against Daniel Norris, who's been much worse in nearly every statistical category.
Verlander was as advertised, pitching a complete game and allowing only two base runners -- solo home runs by Ronny Rodriguez and John Hicks. Both players went into the game with eight home runs on the season.
Norris threw three shutout innings as the opener before giving way to Tyler Alexander, who allowed just one run in four innings. Buck Farmer and Joe Jimenez each pitched a scoreless inning to polish off the upset.
Houston catcher Robinson Chirinos stepped to the plate with two outs in the bottom of the ninth inning needing a triple to complete the cycle. He slapped a ball past a diving Travis Demeritte in right field but was thrown out by a wide margin trying to stretch a double into a triple.
The Tigers' relay from Harold Castro to Gordon Beckham to Dawel Lugo not only robbed Chirinos of the cycle, it ended the game.
Fresh off the upset, the Tigers had to troll Chirinos on Twitter.
Detroit is still three wins behind the Baltimore Orioles for the fewest in MLB, though the teams are now tied at 86 losses.
Houston is three games behind the Los Angeles Dodgers and two games behind the New York Yankees for the best record in the league.