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‘Marty Costes, the pitcher’: Astros’ prospect steps up for Space Cowboys

Houston Astros' Marty Costes
Marty Costes

The Sugar Land Space Cowboys needed an arm in the 10th inning Wednesday, so manager Mickey Storey turned to outfielder Marty Costes in a tie game.

With right-handed pitcher Shawn Dubin scratched from his start, Storey played a bullpen game against the Tacoma Rainiers. Matt Ruppenthal, fresh off the development list, appeared from the dugout for the first inning. The right-handed reliever toed the rubber for his first start since Aug. 29, 2021.

Five pitchers followed Ruppenthal through the ninth inning, taxing a short-handed staff. Costes, one of two players on the bench, took the mound in a 5-5 game for his first professional pitching appearance. With a runner starting at second base, he walked the first batter he faced but generated a ground ball from Brian O’Keefe for a double play.

“It was surreal,” Costes said. “It was like I was in a dream.”

With the ghost runner on third base and two outs, a wild pitch scored the go-ahead run for Tacoma. Costes got a flyout from the following batter to close the frame, ending his first-career outing on 19 pitches, six being for strikes. Baseball Savant recorded 16 of his pitches as curveballs and the other three as sliders.

“That made it the best,” Costes said about not having prior pitching experience. “(Pitching coach Erick) Abreu told me to just try to throw strikes and don’t balk.”

The Space Cowboys rallied to walk-off the Rainiers in the bottom of the 10th inning. J.J. Matijevic singled home the game-winning run, making Costes the winning pitcher.

“Feels good to be on this side of a W, and my guys played hard tonight,” Costes said. “We come out tomorrow and try to do the same thing.”

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