Siri, tell me how to make history: Rook does it

September 14th, 2021

ARLINGTON -- Astros outfielder Jose Siri had to wait eight years for his first Major League start, but he will likely not wait long for his second after the unprecedented show he put on in Monday night’s 15-1 rout of the Rangers.

Siri became the first player in history -- or at least since RBIs became an official statistic in 1920 -- to have at least five RBIs and two homers in his first MLB start, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. In his sixth MLB game overall, Siri went 4-for-5 on Monday at Globe Life Field.

“Everybody was happy for him,” Astros manager Dusty Baker said. “Whenever a guy gets an opportunity like that -- I have been wanting to start him earlier, but the situation wasn’t right -- it was right tonight. … He had a tremendous night. That is a night to remember for the rest of your life.”

Siri, who first played pro ball in the Reds’ organization in 2013, got his first opportunity to be in a big league starting lineup when Michael Brantley was scratched for a second consecutive day with right knee soreness. A free agent signed to a Minor League deal this spring, Siri played in 94 games for Triple-A Sugar Land this season, slashing .318/.369/.552.

“The key to all that was just to never give up, to keep working, keep believing in myself,” Siri said.

Baker praised both Siri’s skillset and his mindset, as the 26-year-old rookie has continued to battle to the big leagues.

“He’s worked hard for it,” Baker said. “When we got him in Spring Training, we liked his skill level. He has power, he has speed, he has a tremendous arm. Sometimes, it takes a guy awhile to get it together. When a guy perseveres like this, you can’t be anything but happy for him.”

Siri has his own unique celebration when he reaches base, something he said he has done since his younger days playing in the Dominican Republic: he pantomimes an archer shooting a bow and arrow. And Siri was certainly on target Monday with his heretofore-unseen stat line.

“I feel really happy, I feel really proud of myself to be able to accomplish that,” Siri said.

Astros hope to exploit soft stretch of schedule

Amid a thus-far mediocre September, the Astros could hardly have asked for a better respite in the schedule than seven consecutive games against two of baseball’s worst teams. A week of games against the reeling Rangers and dismal D-backs -- both last-place clubs on pace to lose 100-plus games -- could help the Astros start to put the finishing touches on their fourth AL West title in the past five seasons.

The Astros jumped on Rangers starter Spencer Howard immediately, with three hits in the first inning, including Jose Altuve’s leadoff single, Yuli Gurriel’s RBI double and Carlos Correa’s two-run double.

The Astros chased Howard shortly thereafter, collecting three hits to start the second inning before Yordan Alvarez’s three-run homer off reliever Wes Benjamin put the game even more comfortably out of reach. Alvarez homered again in the seventh for Houston’s 14th run.

Bullpen bears the load

Five Astros relievers -- Cristian Javier, Phil Maton, Blake Taylor, Brooks Raley and Yimi Garcia -- pieced together 7 2/3 solid innings after starter Jake Odorizzi had to leave in the second inning with a right foot injury. Though the outcome was almost never in doubt, Baker still had to navigate through the game with his bullpen, knowing that his club was in only the fourth day of a 17-game stretch without a day off.

“That was pretty awesome,” Baker said. “We didn’t know how we were going to piece it together because we didn’t want to go through our whole bullpen. Especially when we’ve got 13 games to go.”