Detroit — After giving up three runs in the first inning, the Tigers looked to have dug themselves a daunting early hole, given some of their offensive struggles in recent weeks.
That they scored five runs in the bottom half of the inning was the prologue to a series of uncanny plays that dotted an uncharacteristic 10-8 loss to the Astros on Sunday afternoon at Comerica Park.
In addition to the offensive outburst, the game featured several miscues and odd plays that help swing the outcome back and forth before the Astros were able to erase a four-run deficit in the sixth, take the lead in the seventh and score another run in the eighth.
After Evan Gattis' two-run triple in the first inning, Gattis scored the third run of the inning after Tigers starter Anibal Sanchez balked.
"That was a Bryan Holaday mistake," manager Brad Ausmus said. "He called for the throw to third and put the wrong sign down."
Following a walk to Colby Rasmus, Sanchez had runners on first and third and Holaday said he was trying to signal for a pick play at first, instead of at third.
But Sanchez said that play wasn't a big determiner for the outcome of the game.
"It's just one play. We messed up on the signs," said Sanchez, who had a season-high 11 strikeouts.
"That's not the thing that (messed up) everything in the whole game."
The Tigers bounced back in the first with five runs — the most they've scored in an inning this season — keyed by a critical hustle play by Rajai Davis. On the play, Davis grounded to first baseman Chris Carter, but Astros starter Roberto Hermandez didn't get a good break to cover first base and it was a race between the speedy Davis and Carter.
"We both realized at the same point that the pitcher was not going to get there and it was going to be a foot race between me and Carter," Davis said. "I guess I got him."
Davis slid in head first to avoid a tag — and was called safe.
The miscue was costly, as it could have ended the inning but instead loaded the bases for Holaday, who gave the Tigers a 5-3 lead with a bases-clearing double.
In the eighth, Marwin Gonzalez had an RBI single, scoring Preston Tucker, but on the throw to the plate, Holaday saw Gonzalez was stuck between first and second.
Holaday threw to second and on the relay back to first, Gonzalez broke for second and Holaday was left to cover the base.
Holaday couldn't handle the throw and Gonzalez was safe at second.
"It was an interesting play. We were in the shift and we had him in a rundown," Holaday said. "Nobody was there and I took off running and tried to get there.
"We almost got him but it didn't work out."
Ausmus wasn't frustrated as much about the miscues — but was more bothered by the fact that the Tigers scored so many runs and didn't capitalize on them.
"This one bothered me; I thought were a little sloppy and as a manager, I'm partially to blame for that," Ausmus said. "It disturbs me when we score eight runs and we lose; we shouldn't be losing with eight runs scored — it's as simple as that.
"In that sense, I guess it bothers me a little bit more."