It was another pedestrian win by the Astros against a team they are supposed to beat. But a win it was, mostly on the strength of three home runs. The first, by George Springer, led off the Astros half of the first inning. It was Springer’s 10th lead-off homer all year, an Astros record, and the 34th in his career.
It was followed immediately by another blast by Jose Altuve. Both were hit to similar parts of the stands in right field.
The other Astros home run came in the fifth inning from an unlikely source, back-up catcher Martin Maldonado. All three homers were solo shots.
The Astros’ other three runs actually came from an old-fashioned rally. After Maldonado walked against Tigers starter and losing pitcher Spencer Turnbull, he advanced to third on Jack Mayfield’s double. Maldonado scored on a bizarre single by Jose Altuve that rolled down the third base line hugging the chalk line. But there was nothing fluky about Michael Brantley’s ensuing double that scored Mayfield and Altuve.
The Tigers scored the first run in the game with a lead off homer of their own, this by Victor Reyes. They had a great opportunity to take control of the game in the third inning, but the Astros’ bullpen limited the damage.
Gordon Beckham opened the third inning with a double to left. A walk and infield single loaded the bases with no outs. Sanchez then walked Miguel Cabrera and after a pop-up produced out one, Sanchez was replaced by Brad Peacock, his first game since late June.
Peacock got Eawel Lugo to ground into a run scoring fielder’s choice, and ended the threat with a strikeout of Jody Mercer.
It was Aaron Sanchez’ second straight shaky start, and although Peacock minimized the threat and kept the Tigers at bay, he was a little wild and definitely showing his rust.
The bullpen would control the game from then on, with Peacock throwing a scoreless fourth, Collin McHugh scoreless fifth and sixth innings, and Joe Smith, Ryan Pressly, and Roberto Osuna finishing out scoreless seventh, eighth, and ninth innings respectively.
The Astros offense again displayed its relative inability to hit in clutch situations, stranding ten base runners, and going only 2 for 11 with runners in scoring position. And although it was expected that the Astros would take care of business against the worst team in baseball playing at home, they did manage to win with their #4 and #5 starters.
Breaking news: Aaron Sanchez is going to IL with a sore pectoral. Carlos Correa is officially headed for IL tomorrow as well.
Strange fact: Yordan Alvarez reached another milestone tonight. He was walked all four times he came to bat.
Watch George Springer flash the leather in center.
Tomorrow Justin Verlander faces his old team. His mound opponent will be Daniel Morris.
Game time 7:10 CDT
Box score and videos HERE