Astros 6, Tigers 4: Altuve, Astros steal series from the Tigers

Bob Levey

Astros were one at-bat away from sweeping arguably the best team in the American League.

The wounds from the late inning loss the night before were fresh when the Astros took the field the field Sunday. Scott Feldman was on the mound to face the vaunted Tigers lineup. A lineup that included a kid that came out of no where to fill a left field position that the likes of Delmon Young, Andy Dirks, and Rajai Davis before him could not fill - J.D. Martinez. The all too familiar face for Astros fans, Martinez, was fresh off being named the American League player of the week. But, Feldman kept Martinez and the Tigers in check for six effective innings.

Feldman held the Tigers to just two runs on seven hits over six innings, marking his third quality start in his last four outings. He would add four strikeouts and one walk to his pitching line for the day.  The Tigers' first run came as a result of Andrew Romine and Torii Hunter in the third. Romine singled and stole second, Hunter would drive him in with a double. In the fifth, Alex Avila stroked a pitch off the upper-deck advertisements in right field for the Tigers' second run.

Those two runs were not enough against Houston, who was having their way with Drew Smyly. Smyly came into the game with a 1.44 in five June starts, but gave up three runs early to the Astros. Jose Altuve lead off the game with a single and stolen base, nothing new for Mr. Altuve but we'll come back to him. George Springer doubled to left to drive home Altuve, and put Houston up one after two at-bats. Jesus Guzman drove in Springer with a single. Guzman moved to second on Matt Dominguez single, and they both moved up a base on a wild pitch. L.J. Hoes drove the in Astros' third run with a sac fly.

Up 3-1, the Astros played add-on. Matt Dominguez and L.J. Hoes hit back-to-back doubles to add run to the Astros' total in the third. Adding another in the sixth as Jon Singleton walked with the bases loaded to make it 5-2 Astros.

The Tigers fought back with two in the eight. Former Tiger, Jose Veras walked Victor Martinez and gave up a single after retiring the first to batters he faced in the inning. Nick Castellanos followed up with a triple* to drive in both runners. The scoreboard now read - Astros 5, Tigers 4

The Astros added an insurance run in the eighth, Carlos Corporan lead of the inning with a double. Marwin Gonzalez ran for him, he moved over to third on a Alex Presley sac bunt. George Springer was intentionally walked to get to Jon Singleton. Singleton repaid them in kind with single to drive in Gonzalez setting the score to 6-4. Tony Sipp would collect his first save since 2012 to close the game.

Now, back to Mr. Altuve. Today, Jose Altuve posted his forth straight game with multiple steals - that is the first time that's happened since Ray Chapman did it in 1917. He also has a stolen base in six straight games. Altuve leads the American League in stolen bases at 36, the next close players are Rajai Davis and Jacoby Elisbury at 21. He currently leads the American League in batting average (.347), tied for second in doubles (25), and Altuve leads the league in hits (116). I think we know who the Astros All-Star will be.

*Side note: I've watched the highlight of this triple more then once and I don't for the life me understand - how a person not named Mike Trout or George Springer can hit a sharp triple down the line to wall only 315 feet away? Yes, Castellanos is a young, athletic player. But, that's not Carlos Lee in left it's L.J. Hoes. The ball simple needs to get back into the infield faster.

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