Houston ace Justin Verlander will start Tuesday's American League Division Series Game 4 on three days' rest against the host Tampa Bay Rays, Astros manager A.J. Hinch said following his team's Game 3 loss Monday.
The Astros lead the best-of-5 series 2-1 and need one victory to clinch a spot in the league championship series.
Verlander, 36, never has started on short rest after pitching a full outing in either the regular season or postseason. (He started Game 3 of the 2011 ALDS against the New York Yankees on three days' rest, but that came after he threw just one inning in a rain-shortened game previous to that.)
Still, Hinch chose Verlander for Game 4 instead of rookie right-hander Jose Urquidy or veteran left-hander Wade Miley.
"He's one of the best pitchers in the world," Hinch said. "It's no more complicated than that."
Verlander pitched seven scoreless innings in Houston's Game 1 victory on Friday. He allowed one hit and struck out eight.
If the Astros win Game 4, Verlander still would able to start ALCS Game 2 on Sunday at Houston.
Houston's Gerrit Cole struck out 15 in 7 2/3 scoreless innings of Game 2, before teammate Zack Greinke surrendered six runs over 3 2/3 innings in Monday's 10-3 loss.
--Field Level Media