Chirinos has key plays vs old team as Astros top Rangers 2-1
ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) — Robinson Chirinos woke up in his own bed and took his son to school, just the way he did during his first six seasons in the big leagues with the Texas Rangers.
Houston's new catcher finished a special day with two key plays that helped the Astros beat his former team for the ninth straight time in his old home ballpark.
Chirinos looped a go-ahead double in his first game against Texas following an offseason trade, Brad Peacock allowed two hits while pitching into the seventh inning and the Astros beat the Rangers 2-1 on Monday night.
"Today I feel more nervous to what I did when I debuted in the big leagues," Chirinos said. "It just says a lot about all the feeling I had before the game, during the game. It's good to be a key for this win tonight."
Houston's George Springer connected for his 25th career leadoff homer against Drew Smyly, who was making his first major league start since the end of the 2016 season.
Peacock (1-0) pitched without a baserunner through six innings, allowing only Ronald Guzman's first homer leading off the third while striking out five in 6 2/3 innings. Rougned Odor reached on an infield single to start the seventh, but was thrown out trying to steal by Chirinos.
"I knew he was going to go because he told me before the game," Chirinos said. "He told me, 'Get ready. I'm stealing two bases tonight.' I said, 'All right. Go ahead.'"
Odor was the last Texas hitter to reach, with Ryan Pressly retiring four straight batters and closer Roberto Osuna pitching a perfect ninth for his first save. The Astros bounced back after the two-time defending AL West champions lost three of four at Tampa Bay to open the season.
"There were some hard-hit balls, but we couldn't get any baserunners," Texas manager Chris Woodward said. "When we did, I didn't mind (Odor) going right there, kind of forcing the issue. We put the pressure on him, and he made a perfect throw."
Chirinos put the Astros ahead 2-1 in the sixth. The catcher's looping liner over third baseman Asdrubal Cabrera scored Carlos Correa, who had his first three hits in his second game after missing the first three with neck stiffness.
Springer's 412-foot drive to left made it two straight years of going deep in his first at-bat in Arlington. The 2017 World Series MVP did it on opening day last year against Cole Hamels. Springer had two more against the Rangers last season. All four were against lefties.
Smyly threw 73 pitches in three innings in the left-hander's Texas debut, allowing four hits and one run with two strikeouts and two walks. He underwent Tommy John surgery in 2017 while with Seattle and was later signed by the Cubs. He never pitched for either team, and Chicago traded him to Texas in the offseason.
"I wish I could have lasted longer, but results weren't going to mean much to me today," Smyly said. "Just being back out there, it's been a long road of recovering and like I said it was just a special moment to get back."
Chirinos will get almost a full week of rare dad duty now that the family's house in the Dallas area is his offseason home. He had breakfast with his 11-year-old son before taking him to school. That was the 34-year-old's routine during his time with the Rangers.
Chirinos is planning to spend an extra day at home Thursday, when Houston is off before the home opener Friday.
"It kind of hit me driving here today," he said before the game. "During spring training, first four games in Tampa, I didn't really even think about playing the Rangers and being in this situation right now."
Adrian Sampson (0-1), called up from Triple-A Nashville earlier in the day to help a bullpen that was battered in a season-opening series win over the Cubs, allowed four hits and a run over the final six innings for the Rangers. He struck out three and walked two. "It's just unfortunate that he ends up getting a loss for that because that was a win for him in so many ways," Woodward said.
Rangers: LHP Yohander Mendez, expected to be out until midseason with a left elbow ligament sprain, was moved to the 60-day injured list to make room for Sampson on the 40-man roster. Lefty reliever Kyle Bird was sent down.
Astros: RHP Justin Verlander is scheduled for his second start after striking out nine in seven innings in Houston's 5-1 win over Tampa Bay on opening day.
Rangers: RHP Shelby Miller, a Texas native, is set to become the fourth straight starter to make his Rangers debut, following Edinson Volquez (second Texas stint), Lance Lynn and Smyly. Miller appeared in five games for Arizona last year coming off Tommy John surgery in 2017.