He may not have been the biggest reason Houston beat the Tigers 7-5 on Wednesday, avoiding another three-game sweep and snapping a six-game losing streak.
He just made the biggest play.
Barnes' leaping catch of a Miguel Cabrera fly ball at the wall in the bottom of the ninth with two outs and the bases loaded ended a game in the most Astro-way possible. By the skin of their teeth.
Just a few inches further and the ball is a home run. If Barnes is a few inches off on his leap, two runs score as the ball glances off the wall. Bo Porter agrees.
Oh, did I mention it was Barnes' birthday on Wednesday?
He wasn't the biggest hero in this game, though. Those honors go to many.
First up is starting pitcher Dallas Keuchel. After giving up four runs in the bottom of the second, Keuchel struck out three and walked two in 5 2/3 innings of work. After that disastrous second inning, he gave up just one unearned run to keep the Astros close.
That led to the second-biggest hero: J.D. Martinez. The hot-hitting outfielder smashed a three-run home run in the fourth inning to give Houston a 5-4 lead over the Tigers. Martinez was 1 for 3 on the day with a walk and three RBIs. He has gone 5 for 10 in three games in Detroit with three doubles, a home run and four RBIs. These three games raised his batting average from .203 up to .246.
Barnes pinch-ran for Martinez in the ninth, scoring a run before moving into center field for that critical play in the bottom of the inning.
He scored the run thanks to a third hero: Carlos Corporan. Houston's hot-hitting catcher blasted a home run in the top of the second to give Houston a lead and then came up big in the ninth. With no outs in the top of the ninth and the score tied at 5-5, Corporan hit a line drive double to left field that allowed Barnes to score from first.
Crowe scored the game's final run after a pair of sacrifices. Jimmy Paredes was called out on a sacrifice bunt to third, letting Crowe advance from second. Then, Matt Dominguez hit a sacrifice fly to right field as Crowe raced home ahead of Torii Hunter's throw.
That made the events of the ninth inning even more interesting, as de facto Astros closer Jose Veras came into the game and sandwiched a Brayan Pena walk around two quick outs. Unfortunately, control issues plagued Veras, as he walked Omar Infante and then hit Hunter with a pitch to load the bases for Cabrera.
Barnes' catch gave Veras his fifth save of the season in his first save opportunity since May 8 against the Angels.