The Astros will leave Detroit after fending off a Tigers team that would at least make things interesting with three straight 1-run games in a row. Unfortunately for them, Houston would flex its bullpen muscle to close out those close games and keep a step ahead of hard-charging Oakland.
The game itself would start off looking like it might be a tense one with both starters trading clean opening frames. Unfortunately, a Correa error in the bottom of the 2nd would cause Cole to work a little harder to escape the inning without damage, which would become a theme on the afternoon
Even with that wobbly inning, the Tigers would blink first in the 3rd with Bregman driving in Moldanado off of Tigers starter Daniel Norris for his 98th RBI on the season. That hit would also break an 0-for-11 run at the plate during the Detroit series and increase Bregman’s on-base streak to 39 straight games. He’s the first Astro since Biggio and Bagwell, who did it in 1998, to reach such a number.
Cole would get burned in the 3rd, though, allowing a walk to Candelario, who would come around from 2nd to score on a 2 out, 0-2 slider that Tigers OF Mahtook dug out from slightly below the zone. Detroit would go on to take the lead for the first and only time in the series the following inning, when C James McCann would put one in the seats.
Cole would have difficulty putting batters away in this game, giving up 4 free passes on the afternoon while grinding through 5 tough innings, but was able to limit the damage mainly due to his overpowering strikeout ability. He would fan 9 Tigers, all of whom went down swinging. He would also pass up Verlander for the strikeout lead, which is the 11th time that the two teammates have flip-flopped each other this year.
The same could not be said for his counterpart, who was looking good to start the game but would falter in the bottom of the 5th, giving up a bloop single to Marisnick and Springer and making it 6 straight singles for the Astros up until the point. Alex Bregman then decided that that was enough beating around the bush.
Alex would smash a 3-1 breaking ball down the 3rd base line for a double to drive in George and Jake, and would cement himself as an Astros offensive god. That hit marked his 50th double of the season and 100th RBI, making him the first Astro to hit that plateau since Carlos Lee did it in 2009. He’s the first player since Miguel Cabrera in 2014 to hit that mark and also have 100 runs. Bregman will also add first 3rd baseman in MLB history to log 50 doubles and 30 HR in one season.
Here’s Bregman speaking about his big day after the game:
Bregman on the win and his big day pic.twitter.com/C6yqHt0AH0— Brian McTaggart (@brianmctaggart) September 12, 2018
Gurriel would eventually drive him in on a sac fly that almost left the yard before Marwin would wrap up the Astros’ offense for the day that same inning, driving in Correa from first on a double to end Daniel Norris’ day.
Houston would put Josh James out for three innings of relief, starting in the 6th, to help rest a tired pen before the off day. He would continue to look impressive except for a walk and a mistake pitch in 7th, where Castellanos would take him yard for a 2-run jack. James would bounce back though, going another 1.1 innings with 2 more K’s after that. He did have a little help from Springer with that:
Pressly would come on to pitch a perfect 9th, continuing to stake his claim to the october bullpen. This series marks the first Astros’ series win at Comerica Park and their second ever in Detroit. The previous win was also a sweep, which happened back in 1998 at the old Tigers Stadium.
The Astros are now 92-54 and 3.5 games up on the A’s in the West, who play Baltimore later tonight. Travel day tomorrow before Houston opens the final home stand of the year with three against the Diamondbacks starting Friday.
Box score and video here.