FINAL: TIGERS 14, ASTROS 6
The Astros got to Matt Boyd for two runs in the top of the first inning, but the Tigers answered back to tie the game in the bottom half of the frame and rode that momentum to a seven-run second inning on their way to a 14-6 win over Houston at Comerica Park on Friday night.
The Tigers tagged Houston pitching for 16 hits, including 10 off of starter Collin McHugh, who was pulled during the outburst in the second inning. Six Tigers had a multiple hits with Cameron Maybin leading the way with three. In fact, Jarrod Saltalmacchia was the only Tigers starter not to register a hit, but he did chip in with an RBI on a sacrifice fly in the fifth inning. Tyler Collins, Justin Upton and James McCann all played long ball against the Astros.
Matt Boyd (2-2) wasn't great on the hill, but he really didn't have to be to pick up the win. Boyd gave up three runs on four hits over five innings. He struck out six.
The Tigers and Astros get back to work tomorrow night at Comerica Park. Justin Verlander (10-6, 3.64 ERA) takes on Mike Fiers (7-4, 4.69).
Bottom 8th: Tigers 14, Astros 6
James McCann thought the bottom of the eighth inning with a seven-run lead would be a good time to come off the bench and take some batting practice, blasting a solo home run with two outs well over the left field fence to push the Tigers lead to 14-6.
Cameron Maybin flew out to center field and Mike Aviles grounded out to second to start the inning.
Nick Castellanos lined out to shortstop to end the frame.
Top 8th: Tigers 13, Astros 6
Jake Marisnick reached on an error after Andrew Romine came off the bag and missed the tag. After Preston Tucker popped out to shortstop, Jason Castro drew a one-out walk. Jose Altuve flew out to deep center field, moving Marisnick up to third. With runners on the corners, Mark Lowe was taken out of the game after 24 pitches.
Dustin Molleken gave up an RBI single to Carlos Correa on the first pitch he threw, cutting the Tigers seemingly insurmountable lead to single digits, 13-4. Molleken then issued a walk to Evan Gattis to load the bases and Colby Rasmus notched a two-RBI single through the right side of the infield. Finally, Alex Bregman grounded out to second to ease the tension of the inning.
Bottom 7th: Tigers 13, Astros 3
Jarrod Saltalamacchia led the inning off by striking out and is the only Tigers starter without a hit tonight (he did, however, have an RBI on a sacrifice fly). Jose Iglesias grounded out to third and Andrew Romine (pinch-hitting for Ian Kinsler) struck out swinging to end the frame.
With such a big lead, Brad Ausmus seems intent on giving a few guys a bit of rest. There should be some defensive substitutions in the eighth inning.
Top 7th: Tigers 13, Astros 3
After getting Colby Rasmus to ground out to second base to start the inning, Alex Wilson was given the hook after throwing just 14 pitches.
With a 10-run lead, Brad Ausmus decided it was a good time to give Mark Lowe a run, and yes, the Tigers are still in the lead. Lowe got Alex Bregman to line out to left field and Tyler White to fly out to center field to end the inning.
Bottom 6th: Tigers 13, Astros 3
Cameron Maybin led off the sixth with his third hit of the night, a single to right field off of Houston reliever Michael Feliz, but after two outs by Miguel Cabrera and Victor Martinez, it didn't look like the Tigers would be adding to their already big lead.
Nick Castellanos drew a two-out walk and Justin Upton played long ball, driving a three-run shot to left field for his 12th home run of the season.
Top 6th: Tigers 10, Astros 3
Alex Wilson got the call from the bullpen for the sixth inning and did his job, setting Houston down in order as the Tigers march towards a big victory in their first of three games with the Astros.
Jose Altuve flew out to center field, Carlos Correa grounded out to third and Evan Gattis struck out swinging to end the inning.
Bottom 5th: Tigers 10, Astros 3
Tyler Collins led the fifth inning off with a three-bagger to "triples alley" in right center field and would score on a sacrifice fly from Jarrod Saltalamacchia to center field that gives a Tigers a little more wiggle room.
Jose Iglesias grounded out back to the pitcher and Ian Kinsler did the same to end the inning.
Chris Devenski is still on the mound for Houston. He's thrown 51 pitches.
Top 5th: Tigers 9, Astros 3
Matt Boyd labored a little bit in the fifth inning, but he was never really threatened after Tyler White drew a leadoff walk to leadoff the frame.
Jake Marisnick flew out to center field, George Springer struck out swinging in a lengthy at-bat and Marwin Gonzalez did the same to become Boyd's sixth strikeout victim.
Because of the extended inning (25 pitches, 100 total), Boyd isn't going to be around for the sixth. He did, however, put himself in position to pick up the win tonight by finishing the fifth.
Bottom 4th: Tigers 9, Astros 3
Victor Martinez notched a one-out single to right field but the Tigers weren't able to put anything together in the fourth inning. Nick Castellanos struck out swinging and Justin Upton grounded out to third to end the inning.
Miguel Cabrera grounded out to third to leadoff the frame.
Top 4th: Tigers 9, Astros 3
Matt Boyd settled in and had his best inning of the night, setting Houston down in order and looking firmly in control of his pitches.
Even Gattis became Boyd's fourth strikeout victim, Colby Rasmus grounded out to second and Alex Bregman fouled out to end the inning.
Boyd and throws 75 pitches through the first four frames. If he can give the Tigers six solid innings, that puts the bullpen in good shape for this weekend series with Astros.
Bottom 3rd: Tigers 9, Astros 3
The Tigers were set down in order in the third inning, and if you don't understand how this could happen after such a torrid start, you're not alone.
Jose Iglesias grounded out to shortstop, Ian Kinsler lined out to left field and Cameron Maybin struck out swinging to end a tidy inning for Chris Devenski.
The Tigers set the bar high in the first two innings but they came back down to earth for the time being.
Top 3rd: Tigers 9, Astros 3
Matt Boyd was given seven runs in the bottom of the second inning but he also showed that he was in a giving mood tonight, giving up a solo shot to Jake Marisnick to leadoff the third. George Springer followed with a single to left field but Boyd came back to get the next three hitters and get out of trouble.
Marwin Gonzalez struck out swinging, Jose Altuve grounded into a fielder's choice and Carlos Correa flew out to center field to end the inning.
Boyd isn't at his best tonight, but he doesn't have to be. He just has to limit the damage. His pitch count is at a not-so-awful but not-so-great 57 through three frames.
Bottom 2nd: Tigers 9, Astros 2
The Tigers were really loving what Collin McHugh was serving up tonight.
Jose Iglesias notched a one-out single through the left side of the infield and Ian Kinsler got his second hit of the night with a blooper into center field. Kinsler moved up to second on a bad throw to third base, putting two runners in scoring position for Cameron Maybin. Maybin went to work, driving a ball down the right field line to score both runs and give the Tigers a 4-2 lead. Miguel Cabrera kept the hit parade going, singling to center field and notching his second RBI of the night.
With the Tigers leading by three runs and one out, Cabrera moved up to second base on a passed ball. Victor Martinez grounded out to second, moving Cabrera up to third. Nick Castellanos hit a ground ball behind the ball and that proved to be too tough of a throw for Alex Bregman, who just missed getting Castellanos at the bag, scoring Cabrera to make it 6-2. After Justin Upton notched a single through the left side of the infield, McHugh was lifted from the game.
Perhaps it wasn't all McHugh's fault. After Chris Devenski came on in relief, Tyler Collins joined in on the fun with a three-run home run to right field to blow the game open at 9-2.
Jarrod Saltalamacchia grounded out to second base to leadoff the frame.
The Tigers tagged McHugh (51 pitches) for 10 hits and eight earned runs in less than two full innings.
I think it's safe to say they're currently firing on all cylinders.
Top 2nd: Tigers 2, Astros 2
Matt Boyd settled in and put together a much tidier second inning by setting Houston down in order.
Colby Rasmus flew out to left field, Alex Bregman grounded out to second and Tyler White popped out to second to end the inning.
Though the Astros didn't do any damage in the second inning, they still hit a few balls hard (Bregman's were foul) and Boyd's pitch count needs to bounce back a little bit from 37 through two innings.
Bottom 1st: Tigers 2, Astros 2
Ian Kinsler got things started with a single to left field and Cameron Maybin followed suit to put men on the corners for Miguel Cabrera. Maybin moved up to second on a ball in the dirt and Cabrera was able to score Kinsler with a sacrifice fly to right field that cut the Houston lead in half, 2-1. Victor Martinez drilled a ball to right field over the head of George Springer but Maybin only moved up to third after being unsure if the ball would be caught. With runners on the corner, Nick Castellanos righted the wrong with a single to center field that scored Maybin and tied the game, 2-2.
With men on first and second, Justin Upton popped out and Tyler Collins struck out to end the inning.
Both pitchers are struggling with location right now and neither has any life on their pitches. It could be a long night for both bullpens.
Top 1st: Astros 2, Tigers 0
Marwin Gonzalez struck a base hit to left field and it looked like the Tigers had him nailed as he tried to stretch his single into a double, but Ian Kinsler whiffed on the tag to give Houston a man in scoring position with one out. That proved to be costly for the Tigers, as Jose Altuve hit a two-run home run to right field in the next at-bat to give the Astros an early 2-0 lead.
George Springer struck out swinging to leadoff the game. Boyd had fallen behind 3-0 to start before bouncing back to get Springer.
After the Altuve home run, Carlos Correa flew out to center field and Evan Gattis struck out looking to end the frame.
1. Ian Kinsler, 2B
2. Cameron Maybin, CF
3. Miguel Cabrera, 1B
4. Victor Martinez, DH
5. Nick Castellanos, 3B
6. Justin Upton, LF
7. Tyler Collins, RF
8. Jarrod Saltalamacchia, C
9. Jose Iglesias, SS
Matt Boyd, P
1. George Springer, RF
2. Marwin Gonzalez, 1B
3. Jose Altuve, 2B
4. Carlos Correa, SS
5. Evan Gattis, C
6. Colby Rasmus, LF
7. Alex Bregman, 3B
8. Tyler White, DH
9. Jake Marisnick, CF
Collin McHugh, P
TIGERS VS. ASTROS
What: First of three-game series
When: Friday, 7:08 p.m.
Where: Comerica Park, Detroit
Pitching matchup: LHP Matt Boyd (1-2, 4.63) vs. RHP Collin McHugh (7-6,4.18)
Local TV: Fox Sports Detroit
Internet streaming: MLB.TV (Blacked out in Detroit market)
Local radio: 97.1 FM
Satellite radio: Sirius, SIRI 217; XM, 178; SiriusXM, 178 (Internet 849