It seems as if the Astros are snakebitten at times, the first month of the season, the games against the Rangers, and games like Saturday's push that narrative. A key hit there falls in and a key fly ball is dropped. But chalking this loss up to the baseball gods would be ignoring the fact that the two starters were stellar on Saturday at Comerica Park in the Tigers' 3-2 walk-off win.
Mike Fiers matched Justin Verlander stride for stride for six innings on Saturday. The pitchers combined to allow just eight base runners over the first six innings. In which only four reached scoring position and only one run scored. It was a great outing on both parts.
The Astros missed on the first chance for runs in the first inning. Jose Altuve single and was followed by a sharp double from Carlos Correa past Justin Upton in left field. The ball was close enough to Upton that Altuve didn't attempt to score. That wouldn't work in the Astros favor as Colby Rasmus ended the inning with a strikeout.
The Tigers were primed for a run in the second inning with two runners on and no outs. Justin Upton hit a sharp grounder to Jose Altuve, who stepped on the bag and threw to third for a double play -- Alex Bregman easily tagging the slow-footed Victor Martinez.
The game rolled along to the sixth inning with two outs and Cameron Maybin on first. Miguel Cabrera skied a pitch into short right field. Jose Altuve takes charge on the field whenever he can, it backfired on him as he stumbled and dropped the ball. Maybin running all the way from first, scored on the play. The Tigers led 1-0.
The Astros wouldn't crack Verlander until the ninth inning. George Springer led off with a single. Jose Altuve picked up a single of his own -- the game-tying runner was in scoring position. Correa followed with a dink hit to score Springer and Colby Rasmus drove in a second run.
The Astros entered the bottom of the ninth inning with a 3-2 lead.
The Astros closer Will Harris entered the game and retired the first two batters he faced. Justin Upton walked. Tyler Collins singled. No damage had been done yet.
But James McCann handled a 1-2 curveball and smacked into left field. Bregman had moved to left after Evan Gattis had pinch hit for Jake Marisnick earlier in the game. Bregman's inexperienced in the outfield showed as he airmailed the throw home, giving Gattis no chance to attempt a tag and allowing the runners to move up 90 feet.
The game was tied but not over. Jose Iglesias hit a grounder to first base that was fielded by Jason Castro, playing first for the second time in his major league career. Castro's throw to Harris, who was attempting to cover first, didn't lead him to the bag. Instead, Harris had to break his stride to catch the ball. The run scored and the Tigers won.
Mike Fiers allowed zero earned runs over 6 1/3 innings on four hits while striking out six and walking two. Just Verlander picked up the win after pitching a complete game, allowing two runs on five hits and strucking out 11.