BLANCO FLIRTS WITH NO-HITTER

Ronel Blanco throws 7 hitless innings, Jose Altuve homers to lead Astros over Tigers

Astros Cristian Javier, Jose Altuve, Ronel Blanco
Astros defeat Tigers, 4-1. Composite Getty Image.

Ronel Blanco had the second hitless outing of his brief major league career but was pulled after seven innings as the Houston Astros beat the Detroit Tigers 4-1 on Sunday.

Blanco (7-2), who threw the only no-hitter in the majors this season on April 1 against Toronto, was just as good this time in the 20th start and 37th appearance of his career. The 30-year-old right-hander threw 94 pitches with 65 strikes and tied a season best with eight strikeouts. He walked three.

Ryan Pressly replaced Blanco to start the eighth and gave up the Tigers' first hit, a two-out single by Wenceel Pérez.

Jose Altuve hit a three-run homer for Houston.

The Tigers couldn’t do much of anything against Blanco a day after they had a season-high 19 hits in a 13-5 trouncing of the Astros.

Blanco didn’t allow a baserunner until he walked Gio Urshela with two outs in the fifth.

He then walked Akil Baddoo and Carson Kelly to load the bases, but retired Zach McKinstry on a flyout.

Blanco made a good defensive play for the second out of the sixth when he grabbed a comebacker hit by Matt Vierling. He then sat down Riley Greene on a popup.

Urshela reached with two outs in the seventh on a throwing error by third baseman Alex Bregman. Blanco then retired Baddoo on a fly ball that center fielder Jake Meyers caught on the warning track to end the right-hander’s day.

After the hit by Pérez, Pressly sat down Vierling before Josh Hader took over for the ninth. Mark Canha singled with one out and scored on a double by pinch-hitter Andy Ibánez.

Urshela grounded out and Hader struck out pinch-hitter Jake Rogers to end it.

Detroit starter Kenta Maeda (2-3) permitted five hits and four runs in five innings.

Altuve hit a leadoff single before moving to second on a wild pitch with one out. The Astros took a 1-0 lead when he scored on a single by Yordan Alvarez.

Mauricio Dubón singled with one out in the second and Chas McCormick drew a two-out walk. Altuve made it 4-0 with his shot to center field.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Astros: Manager Joe Espada said RHP Justin Verlander, who was scratched from Saturday’s start with neck discomfort, was feeling better Sunday and could start in the team’s next series against the Chicago White Sox. … RHP Luis Contreras was selected to the major league roster to take the place of RHP Nick Hernandez, who was optioned to Triple-A Sugar Land Saturday night. To make room for Contreras on the 40-man roster, RHP Cristian Javier, who recently had Tommy John surgery, was transferred to the 60-day injured list.

UP NEXT

Tigers: RHP Reese Olson (1-8, 3.68 ERA) starts for Detroit against Braves LHP Max Fried (6-3, 3.20) in the opener of a three-games series at Atlanta Monday night.

Astros: Houston is off Monday before opening a three-game series at the White Sox Tuesday night. The Astros haven’t announced their starters for the series.

Most Popular

SportsMap Emails
Are Awesome

Listen Live

ESPN Houston 97.5 FM
These uniforms have to go. Photo via: Wiki Commons.

Major League Baseball will consider going back to having players wear their team uniforms for the All-Star Game.

Club uniforms were used by the American League from 1933-2019 and by the National League from 1934-2019. When the game resumed in 2021 following the pandemic-related cancellation in 2020, MLB had started a uniform contract with Nike and Fanatics, and All-Stars were outfitted in specially designed league uniforms that drew criticism from traditionalists.

Photo by Richard Rodriguez/Getty Images.

This year's AL uniforms had a sandy base with red sleeves and lettering and the NL had a navy base with light blue sleeves and lettering.

“I’m aware of the sentiment on this issue,” Manfred told the Baseball Writers' Association of America on Tuesday. "I think where my head is on it, it’s something we’re going to have a conversation about coming out of the All-Star Game. We've got a lot of uniform things going on. And, obviously, the conversations have to involve the players first and foremost but Nike, some of our partners. But I am aware of the sentiment, and I do know why people kind of like that tradition."

MLB and Nike were criticized for club uniforms this year and said in May that 2025 club outfits will have larger lettering on the back of jerseys and individual pant customization. Players complained this year that white pants worn by some teams are see-through enough to show tucked-in jersey tops.

Regional sports networks

Manfred said a national steaming package of local television broadcasts is a future possibility.

“I could see a situation where we grow into a 30-club model. It might start on the digital side, where you have 14 or 15 clubs, and, you start with a digital product there as your first alternative,” he said.

“I was in Sun Valley last week and I did the whole speed-dating thing with everybody who’s ever streamed anything. When you talk to people in the streaming business, they’re not really interested in buying the state of Wisconsin and two counties in Michigan," Manfred added. "They want to be able to stream quite frankly, all over the U.S. and Canada but more broadly internationally. So I think those conversations are a product of owners saying, holy cow, the RSN business is really deteriorating. We know the future’s going to be streaming. What we’re hearing from the streamers is they want a more national product, and we need to be responsive to what people want to buy.”

MLB took over production of Arizona and San Diego local television broadcasts last year following the bankruptcy of Diamond Sports’ Bally networks and said MLB will be available as an option for teams looking for new deals. He said Padres game are approaching 40,000 subscribers, which he called a good figure.

“Having said that, from a revenue perspective it is not generating what the RSNs did," Manfred said. "The RSNs were a great business. Lots of people paid for programing they didn’t necessarily want. And it’s hard to replicate that kind of revenue absent that kind of bundling concept.”

Offense

While offense is near half-century lows, it has picked up from early in the season.

“The decline in offense is something that we’re paying a lot of attention to and we’ll continue to monitor to make a decision as to whether we think we need to do something. You do hear a lot of chatter about the dominance of pitching in the game. That’s absolutely true.”

Birmingham

After the success of the June 20 game between San Francisco and St. Louis at Rickwood Field, Manfred said MLB will return to the ballpark in Birmingham, Alabama, but the “exact form” had not been determined.

SportsMap Emails
Are Awesome