This is why Justin Verlander is so valuable to the Astros. After a late flight west from Boston, after a very tough and controversial walk-off loss to the AL leading Red Sox, the Astros’ fire seemed to be flickering a little dimly tonight. It’s good on nights like this to have Justin Verlander to carry the team on his shoulders.
The Astros only scored three runs tonight, all unearned, on five hits, all singles. The runs all came in the third inning, starting with a George Springer walk with one out. Jose Altuve then reached on an error, followed by an Alex Bregman force out which sent Springer to third. Springer scored on a wild pitch to Tyler White, who then plated Bregman with a seeing eye single up the middle. Carlos Correa then got an infield single, and Marwin Gonzalez completed the scoring for the Astros with a bloop RBI single to left.
The BABIP dragon blessed the Astros last night in the third. Otherwise Tigers starter Francisco Liriano leaves the game with an impressive shut out. Was he that good tonight, or the Astros that flat?
The Tigers managed to touch Verlander for a run in the second and another in the sixth, but when he left after seven innings he had allowed only six hits, one walk, and had struck out 10, to retake the league lead in strikeouts from teammate Gerrit Cole. He threw 104 pitches tonight, 77 for strikes, 23 of those of the swing and miss variety.
Ryan Pressly and Roberto Osuna held the Tigers in the eighth and ninth innings respectively, with Osuna getting his 16th save of the year.
Tyler White was the only Astro with as many as two hits.
Although there were some defensive miscues in this game, mainly an Alex Bregman throwing error that turned a base clearing double play into a runners on first and second situation, there were also some brilliant plays.
Correa, who muffed one tough chance similar to this one earlier, made this play for Osuna.
And look at this Josh Reddick, Carlos Correa combined double play which started in left field.
Not the most stunning victory in Astros history, but with the A’s still bearing down hard, we’ll take it.
Game tomorrow at another odd time, 5:40 PM CDT.
Astros rookie Framber Valdez goes against Jordan Zimmerman.
Box score and videos here.