ROYALS DEFEAT ASTROS

Astros top pitching prospect Spencer Arrighetti struggles in MLB debut against Royals

Astros top pitching prospect Spencer Arrighetti struggles in MLB debut against Royals
Astros look to avoid the sweep Thursday afternoon. Photo by Jay Biggerstaff/Getty Images.

Spencer Arrighetti's major league debut for the Houston Astros hardly went as planned.

The team's top pitching prospect was tagged for seven runs in the third inning of an 11-2 loss to the Kansas City Royals on Wednesday night.

“I would say a little bit of nerves (and) a lot of emotions,” Arrighetti said. “When you want something that bad your whole life, you want it to be perfect. You want it to go really smoothly and you want everything to feel good. But (the) reality is before the game I was a little bit of an anxious mess. I feel like I had to work harder to get my emotions down a little bit.”

Called up from Triple-A Sugar Land to fill an opening in Houston's injury-depleted rotation, Arrighetti held the Royals off the scoreboard while laboring through the first two innings.

But he unraveled in the third as Kansas City sent 11 batters to the plate.

“He started the game throwing the ball well,” Astros manager Joe Espada said. “That third inning kind of got away from him. He started leaving some balls over the plate. I felt like everything they put in play kind of fell for them.”

Arrighetti allowed seven runs, seven hits and three walks in three innings. He struck out three and threw 47 of 79 pitches for strikes.

The 24-year-old right-hander was the Astros’ minor league pitcher of the year in 2023. He went 9-7 with a 4.40 ERA in 124 2/3 innings over 28 appearances, including 21 starts. He recorded 10.2 strikeouts per nine innings and a 2.39 strikeout-to-walk ratio.

“We’ve seen the increase in (velocity) the last year or two. And when he executes his pitches, he can work both sides of the plate. And if he does that, he’ll be in good shape,” Espada said before the game.

Arrighetti was born in New Mexico and went to high school in Texas before the Astros chose him in the sixth round of the 2021 amateur draft out of Louisiana at Lafayette.

He had 10 strikeouts in 8 1/3 innings at Triple-A this season, allowing two runs and seven hits with seven walks in two starts.

“Knowing that you belong is very important,” Espada said before the game. “I think he knows he belongs. (He’ll) not try to do too much, stay calm, let your defense help you out, execute your pitches and trust the plan. I think he’s capable of doing those things.”

To make room for Arrighetti on the roster, Houston optioned right-hander Wander Suero to Sugar Land.

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Astros defeat the A's, 6-3. Photo by Richard Rodriguez/Getty Images.

Jake Meyers hit a three-run homer to highlight Houston's six-run fourth inning that backed Justin Verlander's winning start, and the Astros beat the Oakland Athletics 6-3 on Friday night.

Verlander (3-2) struck out nine over six innings to increase hit total to 3,377, passing Hall of Famer Greg Maddux (3,371) for 10th on the career strikeouts list. He gave up two runs — one earned — on eight hits and didn't walk a batter for a second straight start and seventh time this year.

After another milestone to add to a long list of them, Verlander wasn't sure exactly how to feel.

“I feel like I should be more excited but I feel like I’m a little more introspective and reflective,” Verlander said. “A lot of sacrifices you make in this game, a lot of time away from the family, but I love it, so it’s pretty amazing. I don’t know if as a 21- or 22-year-old kid in professional baseball if I’d thought I’d be in the top-10 in anything. This sport’s been around for so long. Hard to put into words, but a lot of thoughts, a lot of thoughts went through my mind.”

When his teammates celebrated him once the special outing had ended, Verlander allowed himself to ponder the meaning.

Verlander remembers his first strikeout and he recalls one against Hall of Fame slugger Frank Thomas here at the Coliseum — and the pitcher wears No. 35 because of Thomas.

“I have a lot of great memories here,” he said.

A's manager Mark Kotsay, a former Oakland outfielder, has been witness to some of those.

“He’s just tough. He’s a Hall of Fame pitcher. He knows his game plan and he executes it really well," Kotsay said. "He doesn’t make a ton of mistakes.”

Yordan Alvarez added an RBI double and Josh Hader finished the 2-hour, 31-minute game with his seventh save for the Astros, who began a seven-game road trip.

After right-hander Ross Stripling (1-9) retired the first nine Houston hitters in order, Jose Altuve singled to start the fourth for the first of four straight hits that included Alex Bregman's two-run single.

The A's drew an announced crowd of 9,676 for the series opener after winning two of three against Colorado following an eight-game losing streak.

Miguel Andujar came off the injured list and immediately hit an RBI single in the first off Verlander and finished with three hits in his A's and season debut — including another run-scoring single in the seventh.

Andjuar's RBI marked the first time the A's have scored first in 18 games — ending the longest streak in franchise history. Batting cleanup, he also singled in the third.

Astros left fielder Chas McCormick robbed Max Schuemann of an extra-base hit when he crashed into the wall to make a great catch ending the eighth.

“That was a big play at the moment,” manager Joe Espada said.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Astros: RHP José Urquidy was pulled from his rehab start with Triple-A Sugar Land because of right forearm discomfort. He has been on the injured list with inflammation in his pitching shoulder. ... 1B José Abreu is scheduled to rejoin the club Monday in Seattle after playing at least two games with Triple-A Sugar Land as he works to regain his hitting rhythm.

Athletics: Andujar had been sidelined all season after having meniscus surgery on his right knee. He was claimed off waivers from the Pirates on Nov. 6. Oakland created roster room by optioning INF Brett Harris to Triple-A Las Vegas.

UP NEXT

RHP Spencer Arrighetti (2-4, 7.16 ERA) pitches for the Astros in the middle game opposite A's LHP JP Sears (3-3, 4.31).

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