Astros get creative, as Tony Sipp's pitcher-outfielder switch works to perfection

Houston reliever, former Clemson star pitches twice, plays outfield all in one inning

After he played right field for one batter, Houston Astros' Tony Sipp, right, gets his pitching glove back from manager Bo Porter (16) as Sipp returns to the mound to pitch again during the eighth inning of a baseball game against the Arizona Diamondbacks on Monday, June 9, 2014, in Phoenix. The Astros won 4-3. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

After he played right field for one batter, Houston Astros' Tony Sipp, right, gets his pitching glove back from manager Bo Porter (16) as Sipp returns to the mound to pitch again during the eighth inning of a baseball game against the Arizona Diamondbacks on Monday, June 9, 2014, in Phoenix. The Astros won 4-3. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

PHOENIX (AP) — A lot of things are going right for the Houston Astros these days.

Take Monday night's 4-3 victory over the Arizona Diamondbacks, for instance.

Even when a left-handed reliever went to the outfield for one batter then came back to pitch, everything worked out just fine.

With his bullpen worn down, Astros manager Bo Porter took Tony Sipp off the mound and sent him to right field while right-hander Jerome Williams faced Paul Goldschmidt. Goldschmidt walked, then Sipp went back to pitching, striking out left-handed hitting Miguel Montero.

Porter had told Sipp to be ready for the switch.

"I didn't think it actually was going to happen," Sipp said. "He gave me a warning but I'm like 'All right, OK Bo.'"

Sipp hadn't played in the outfield since his days at Clemson.

"I think I had more focus in right field than I did on the mound," he said.

Sipp left for good and Kyle Farnsworth fanned Martin Prado to end the inning.

" It was a good play unless Goldy hit one to him," Arizona manager Kirk Gibson said. "I have seen it done before. I think I saw Lou Piniella do it in the playoffs once before. It is certainly in the rules. He's going to manage his team the way he wants to manage it. It worked out for him."

Jose Altuve had three hits, including an RBI double, and Jarred Cosart pitched six solid innings for the Astros.

Cosart (5-5) allowed three runs and five hits with two walks. The 23-year-old right-hander struck out eight, matching his career high set in his previous start against the Los Angeles Angels. He retired the first 10 batters, five by strikeout.

The Astros scored their four runs in the first two innings off Josh Collmenter (4-3), who settled down to blank Houston over his final five innings.

Goldschmidt doubled in a run for the Diamondbacks, who had won five of six going into the game.

Chad Qualls pitched a scoreless ninth for his eighth save in nine opportunities and seventh straight since May 11.

The Astros have won four of five and 12 of their last 16.

"We've all won at some level. That's kind of what was the motto in spring training," Cosart said. "Whether it's college, high school, Little League, whatever, we all know what it's like to win, so why not get it going up here? And everyone's just feeding off each other."

Altuve singled and scored in the first, doubled in a run in the second and singled in the fourth. Dexter Fowler had three hits, including a double, and scored twice.

Collmenter went seven innings, giving up four runs, three earned, and seven hits.

Right fielder Gerardo Parra threw out Altuve trying to score from second on Jon Singleton's single in the ninth. Porter challenged, arguing that Montero, the catcher, missed the tag, but the call was upheld after a 38-second video review.

Fowler and Altuve opened the game with singles, then after an out, Jason Castro was hit by a pitch to load the bases. Matt Dominguez's sacrifice fly brought one run home. Another scored on second baseman Aaron Hill's fielding error.

In the second, Fowler singled and scored from first on Altuve's double over the head of Inciarte in center field. Castro doubled Altuve home and Houston led 4-0.

Parra was the first Arizona player to reach base, drawing a walk with one out in the fourth. Goldschmidt followed with Arizona's first hit, a double down the left field line that scored Parra from first. Montero singled to put runners at first and third, but Prado grounded into a double play to end the inning.

Arizona got two more runs in the sixth.

Didi Gregorius singled, then scored from third when Parra singled and Fowler muffed the ball in center field. Goldschmidt walked, then Montero's RBI single made it 4-3.

Inciarte saved a run with a diving catch of Jonathan Villar's fly ball to end the eighth.

  • Discuss
  • Print

Comments » 0

Be the first to post a comment!

Share your thoughts

Comments are the sole responsibility of the person posting them. You agree not to post comments that are off topic, defamatory, obscene, abusive, threatening or an invasion of privacy. Violators may be banned. Click here for our full user agreement.

Comments can be shared on Facebook and Yahoo!. Add both options by connecting your profiles.

Features