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Live Tigers blog: Tigers lose 3rd straight, 6-2 to Astros

Al Willman
The Detroit News
Jordan Zimmermann of the Detroit Tigers looks at his fingernail with the trainer in the first inning.

The Tigers lost 6-2 to the Astros on Tuesday, dropping their third straight game and the fourth in their last six.

The story was a lack of offense for the Tigers (21-23), who managed just one hit on Lance McCullers Jr. in the first five innings, before a 2-run home run from Mikie Mahtook in the top of the seventh put the Tigers within a run of the Astros.

But then the Astros (31-15) scored three more times in the next two innings to put the game away.

The Tigers got six-plus innings from Jordan Zimmermann, who allowed four runs -- two earned -- on five hits, while striking out three and walking two. He also gave up two home runs.

Left-hander Daniel Norris (2-3, 4.81 ERA) gets the ball tomorrow in the third game of a four-game series, while right-hander Charlie Morton (5-3, 4.26 ERA) will go for the Astros. First pitch is at 8:10.

Astros turn error into run in 8th

Another error on Nicholas Castellanos cost the Tigers an out, and later a run, in the bottom of the eighth inning.

After Marwin Gonzalez doubled to lead off the inning, he was caught between second and third on a pickoff move from Tigers righty Warwick Saupold. Saupold threw to Castellanos, who dropped the ball, allowing Gonzalez to make it back to second. Two batters later, Jake Marisnick singled in Gonzalez.

Going to the ninth, the Tigers are down 6-2.

Cabrera stranded in 8th

Miguel Cabrera walked with two outs in the bottom of the eighth, saving the Tigers from a 1-2-3 inning, but was stranded when Victor Martinez flew out to the warning track in right field to end the inning.

Time is running out for the Tigers, who are down 5-2 going to the bottom of the eighth.

Astros get 2 more in 7th

The Tigers gave up two more runs in the bottom of the seventh inning.

After Jordan Zimmermann gave up a leadoff single to Juan Centeno, he was lifted for right-hander Alex Wilson. Wilson allowed a single to Jake Marisnick, before George Springer grounded into what should've been a 1-6-3 double play. Instead, Wilson made a lazy throw to second base that ended up in shallow center field, allowing Centeno to score and Marisnick to take third. Josh Reddick then hit a sacrifice fly to right field, scoring Marisnick.

Jose Altuve grounded into a fielder's choice for the second out, before Carlos Beltran flew out to end the inning.

After seven, the Tigers are down 5-2.

7th-Inning Stretch: Astros 3, Tigers 2

Raise your hand if you had Mikie Mahtook being responsible for the Tigers' scoring.

After Victor Martinez led off the inning with a walk, Mahtook's 2-run home run with two outs in the top of the seventh inning made it a one-run game. James McCann followed with a bloop single, before moving to second base on a wild pitch from Luke Gregerson -- who replaced Michael Feliz after the Mahtook home run. Jose Iglesias then grounded out softly to the catcher to end the inning.

At the Seventh-Inning Stretch, the Tigers are down 3-2.

Zimmermann zips through 6th

Jordan Zimmermann has rolled through the last three innings, with none going more quickly than the bottom of the sixth.

He threw five pitches and set the Astros down 1-2-3.

The Tigers bats have, so far, been mostly absent. After six, the Tigers are down 3-0.

Tigers go in order in 6th

Lance McCullers Jr. shut the Tigers down over five innings, so it might stand to reason that the Tigers would start to do more against the bullpen, right?

Wrong.

Right-hander Michael Feliz entered for the Astros to start the sixth inning and set the Tigers down in order.

After Ian Kinsler flew out to right field, Feliz struck out Nicholas Castellanos and Miguel Cabrera swinging.

Going to the bottom of the sixth, the Tigers are down 3-0. Jordan Zimmermann is going out for his sixth inning of work.

Zimmermann sets Astros down 1-2-3 in 5th

Jordan Zimmermann, after allowing two home runs in his first four innings, worked his first 1-2-3 frame in the bottom of the fifth.

He got Josh Reddick and Jose Altuve to fly out to center field, before Carlos Beltran grounded out softly back to the pitcher's mound to end the inning.

After five, the Astros still lead, 3-0.

Tigers offense ice cold through 5

The Tigers have done nearly nothing against Lance McCullers Jr. through five innings.

They have had four baserunners and just one hit.

James McCann walked with two outs in the top of the fifth, but was stranded to end the half inning.

Going to the bottom of the fifth, the Tigers trail 3-0 and have not scored in their last 21 innings.

Zimmermann gives up another run in 4th

Jordan Zimmermann caught a break in the bottom of the fourth inning.

After hitting Yuri Gurriel, he got Alex Bregman to ground into a 6-4-3 double play. But then, Juan Centeno took Zimmermann over the wall in left center field, adding to the lead for the Astros.

Zimmermann then misplayed a swinging bunt from Jake Marisnick -- which was ruled a hit.

Zimmermann got out of the inning with just the one run and after four, the Astros have a 3-0 lead.

Tigers get hit in 4th

The Tigers got their first hit in the top of the fourth inning, on an infield single from Miguel Cabrera with one out.

However, Cabrera was stranded as the Tigers offense continued their struggles against Astros pitching, with strikeouts to Victor Martinez and J.D. Martinez to end the half inning.

Going to the bottom of the fourth, the Tigers are down 2-0.

Astros get one more in 3rd

A two-base error from Nicholas Castellanos at third base helped the Astros get another run in the bottom of the third inning.

After Josh Reddick walked with one out and stole second base, Jose Altuve hit a ground ball under Castellanos' glove, allowing Reddick to score and Altuve to take second.

Jordan Zimmermann got out of the inning without further damage.

After three, the Astros have a 2-0 lead.

Tigers go in order in 3rd

The Tigers offense through three innings is as follows: a leadoff hit batter (Ian Kinsler) in the first and a walk to J.D. Martinez with one out in the second.

That's it.

For his part, Lance McCullers Jr. has been stellar for the Astros in three innings. The Tigers offense, has not.

McCullers set the Tigers down 1-2-3 in the top of the third.

The Astros still have a 1-0 lead.

Gurriel blast puts Astros on board in 2nd

The Astros took Jordan Zimmermann to the moon in the bottom of the second inning.

Yuri Gurriel sent a 3-1 offering from the right-hander well over the wall in left field, putting the Astros on the board. Zimmermann then got Alex Bregman (shortstop) and Juan Centeno (second base) to ground out, before he struck out Jake Marisnick looking to end the inning.

The strikeout to Marisnick was the 1,000th-career strikeout for Zimmermann.

The Astros lead 1-0 after two.

Tigers strand runner in 2nd

The Tigers got a one-out walk from J.D. Martinez in the top of the second inning, and little else -- as he advanced to second on a passed ball, before being stranded.

Victor Martinez lined out to left field to lead off the inning, before Justin Upton struck out swinging and Mikie Mahtook grounded out to shortstop to end the half inning.

The game is still scoreless heading to the bottom of the second.

Zimmermann strands 2 in 1st

It looked like Jordan Zimmermann had himself in a bit of a jam in the bottom of the first.

Zimmermann walked leadoff hitter George Springer, before allowing a bloop single to Josh Reddick -- putting the first two on for the Astros.

But then Zimmermann settled in, retiring the next three in order to escape trouble.

After Jose Altuve flew out on a fly ball that was not deep enough to advance the runners, Zimmermann struck out Carlos Beltran and Marwin Gonzalez swinging to get out of the inning.

After one, the game remains scoreless.

Nothing doing for Tigers in 1st

The Tigers were rather quiet offensively in the top of the first inning.

Ian Kinsler was hit by a pitch from Lance McCullers Jr. to lead off the game, before Nicholas Castellanos erased him on a 6-4-3 double play. Miguel Cabrera then grounded out to second base to end the half inning.

The Tigers are now scoreless in their last 17 innings, going to the bottom of the first.

Live blog: Tigers vs. Astros

After four Astros pitchers combined to hold them to one hit Monday night, the Tigers will be looking to get back into the swing of things Tuesday.

They'll have to do it against one of the better young pitchers in the majors, though.

The Tigers face Astros right-hander Lance McCullers Jr. in the second game of a four-game series at Minute Maid Park in Houston. First pitch is at 8:10 p.m.

McCullers (4-1, 2.65 ERA) is 23, but already in his third season in the majors, though last season was abbreviated because of an elbow injury. He is seventh in the American League in strikeouts with 60.

Right-hander Jordan Zimmermann (4-2, 6.25 ERA) takes the mound for the Tigers, coming off a solid if unspectacular outing in his last start in which he scattered four runs and seven hits over six innings in defeating the Orioles, 6-5. It was Zimmermann's first six-inning appearance since April 25.

He'll face an Astros team boasting the majors' best record and the first to reach 30 victories this season.

TIGERS AT ASTROS

First pitch: 8:10 p.m. Tuesday, Minute Maid Park, Houston

TV/radio: Fox Sports Detroit/97.1 FM

Records: Tigers are 21-22, third place in the American League Central Division, three games behind the Twins. The Astros are 30-15, first place in the AL West, six games ahead of the Rangers.

TIGERS LINEUP

1. Ian Kinsler, 2B

2. Nick Castellanos, 3B

3. Miguel Cabrera, 1B

4. Victor Martinez, DH

5. J.D. Martinez, RF

6. Justin Upton, LF

7. Mikie Mahtook, CF

8. James McCann, C

9. Jose Iglesias, SS

SP: Jordan Zimmermann, RHP

ASTROS LINEUP

1. George Springer, RF

2. Josh Reddick, LF

3. Jose Altuve, 2B

4. Carlos Beltran, DH

5. Marwin Gonzalez, SS

6. Yulieski Gurriel, 1B

7. Alex Bregman, 3B

8. Juan Centeno, C

9. Jake Marisnick, CF

SP: Lance McCullers Jr., RHP

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