Live blog: Tigers drop a slugfest in Houston

By Geoff Robinson
Special to The Detroit News
Detroit Tigers' Miguel Cabrera, right, is tagged out at home by Houston Astros catcher Juan Centeno during the first inning.


The Astros hit five home runs as they outslugged the Tigers and took three out of four games in this series with a 7-6 win Thursday night.

Justin Upton and J.D. Martinez both homered for the Tigers, while Jose Iglesias drove in two runs with a pair of RBI doubles.

Justin Verlander was cruising through three innings, but then it all went south as Verlander gave up three home runs in the fourth inning. He would pitch into the sixth, but he was shown the door before he could finish it off. Verlander gave up four home runs and six earned runs, pushing his ERA up to a lofty 4.87.

The Tigers bullpen kept the team alive as they rallied to tie the game in the eighth inning, but Alex Wilson was tagged for a solo shot in the bottom of the frame by Jake Marisnick to break the 6-6 tie and put Houston over the top.

In the ninth, Ken Giles got the call from the Astros bullpen. After J.D. Martinez struck out swinging and Justin Upton flew out to center field, Alex Avila kept hope alive with a hard-hit single through the middle of the infield, the Tigers 14th hit of the night. It wasn't meant to be, as Andrew Romine popped out to third to end the game.

The loss brings the Tigers record to 22-24 as they head to Chicago for a doubleheader against the White Sox on Friday.

Bottom 8th: Astros 7, Tigers 6

Jake Marisnick drilled an offering from Tigers reliever Alex Wilson well over the fence in left center field for a one-out, solo home run that gives Houston a 7-6 lead late in tonight's game.

Top 8th: Tigers 6, Astros 6

In a pinch-hitting role, Andrew Romine got things going for the Tigers against Luke Gregerson in the seventh, drawing a leadoff walk before stealing second base. Jose Iglesias brought Romine home with his second RBI double down the left field line tonight, tying the game at 6-6.

Ian Kinsler was able to get Iglesias to third with one out after flying out deep to right field, but Tyler Collins couldn't bring him home when he popped out in the infield. Miguel Cabrera was intentionally walked, leaving it up to Victor Martinez, who flew out to center field to end the frame.

Bottom 7th: Astros 6, Tigers 5

Carlos Correa notched a one-out single to right field, and after Blaine Hardy was able to strike out Evan Gattis, he was shown the door by Brad Ausmus after walking Marwin Gonzalez. With two men on and two out, Warwick Saupold got the call from the bullpen and got Alex Bregman to ground out to shortstop to end the threat.

Top 7th: Astros 6, Tigers 5

Justin Upton hit a strong line drive just over the wall in left field for a solo home run that couldn't have taken more than two seconds to leave the ballpark and cut the Tigers deficit to 6-5.

The home run is Upton's ninth of the season.

Victor Martinez grounded out to third and J.D. Martinez struck out looking to start the inning.

Bottom 6th: Astros 6, Tigers 4

Norichika Aoki singled back through the middle of the infield with two outs, giving way to the speedy Jake Marisnick, who was able to swipe second base off of Justin Verlander and Alex Avila.

Verlander followed by issuing a walk to George Springer, which was enough for Brad Ausmus to take his starter out of the game after 104 pitches.

Blaine Hardy entered the game and got Josh Reddick to fly out to center field to end the inning.

Alex Bregman and Juan Centeno each struck out swinging to start the frame.

Top 6th: Astros 6, Tigers 4

Tyler Collins was able to work a two-out walk from Michael Feliz but Miguel Cabrera flew out to center field to end the inning.

Jose Iglesias grounded out to first and Ian Kinsler struck out swinging to start the frame.

Bottom 5th: Astros 6, Tigers 4

Josh Reddick drew a four-pitch, leadoff walk from Justin Verlander. After Verlander bounced back to get the next two outs, Evan Gattis doubled off the wall in left field to score Reddick and push the Houston lead to 6-4.

Verlander's pitch count is up to 86.

Top 5th: Astros 5, Tigers 4

Tyler Collins and Miguel Cabrera each notched a single to leadoff the fifth. Victor Martinez hit a ball hard to first base but right at Marwin Gonzalez, who was able to double off a clueless Tyler Collins at second.

Luckily for the Tigers, they still employ J.D. Martinez, who just narrowly missed his second home run of the game when the ball bounced off the top of the fence in right center, leaving the Tigers with men on second and third.

The double was enough to chase Mike Fiers from the game.

Justin Upton greeted Michael Feliz rather rudely with an RBI single, cutting the Houston lead to 5-4.

With runners on the corners, Alex Avila was able to draw a walk and load the bases for Dixon Machado, who popped out to shortstop to end the inning.

Bottom 4th: Astros 5, Tigers 3

Justin Verlander was cruising along entering the fourth inning.

Then, all of a sudden, it all went very wrong.

Verlander gave up a pair of two-run shots to Astros and the Tigers suddenly found themselves trailing after coming into the frame with a 3-0 lead.

Carlos Correa turned on a Verlander offering and drilled a two-run home run well over the wall in left field to cut the Tigers lead to 3-2 after Verlander had issued a leadoff walk to Jose Altuve. Evan Gattis followed with a bloop single to center field before Marwin Gonzalez hit a towering shot to right field to give Houston a 4-3 lead.

The bleeding didn't stop there as Juan Centeno hit a solo blast over the short fence in left field to push the Houston lead to 5-3.

Verlander threw 35 pitches in the frame as he saw his pitch count balloon to 67.

Top 4th: Tigers 3, Astros 0

J.D. Martinez took his college teammate Mike Fiers deep to left field for his seventh home run of the season to give the Tigers a 2-0 lead in the fourth inning.

After the Martinez blast, Justin Upton struck out swinging before Fiers hit James McCann in the hand, forcing the Tigers catcher to leave the game as his left hand started bleeding profusely. Dixon Machado was able to notch a single to left field, putting two men on for Jose Iglesias, who doubled down the left field line to score pinch-running Alex Avila and push the Tigers lead to 3-0.

Ian Kinsler put a charge into the ball in the next at-bat with two men in scoring position, but Josh Reddick was able to chase it down and get Houston out of the inning.

Fiers' pitch count is up to 70.

Victor Martinez grounded out to shortstop to leadoff the inning.

Bottom 3rd: Tigers 1, Astros 0

Norichika Aoki notched a single to center field to leadoff the third. George Springer hit a hard ground ball up the middle in the next at-bat, but Ian Kinsler robbed him of a base hit on a diving stop, getting the ball to Jose Iglesias, who nearly turned what would have been a spectacular double play. With Springer at first and attempting a steal, Josh Reddick flew out to right field and Springer was easily thrown out at first base by J.D. Martinez for an inning-ending double play.

Top 3rd: Tigers 1, Astros 0

Ian Kinsler was the benefactor of Jose Altuve losing a lazy pop up in the lights and allowing the ball to find the grass, giving the Tigers leadoff man a free base to start the third inning. Mike Fiers followed with a three-pitch strikeout of Tyler Collins, and then Miguel Cabrera hit a hard liner to Altuve at second base, allowing the diminutive second baseman to throw back to first base and nab Kinsler for an inning-ending double play.

Bottom 2nd: Tigers 1, Astros 0

Marwin Gonzalez flew out to left field, Alex Bregman grounded out to shortstop and Juan Centeno flew out to left field as Justin Verlander has himself a tidy 1-2-3 inning.

Verlander has thrown 22 pitches through the first two frames.

Top 2nd: Tigers 1, Astros 0

J.D. Martinez worked a leadoff walk and moved up to second on the throw over from Mike Fiers. Justin Upton brought him home with a hard-hit single through the middle of the infield to bring home the game's first run and put the Tigers up 1-0.

After James McCann popped out, Upton was able to steal second base. The Tigers couldn't get him home, though, as Dixon Machado flew out to center field and Jose Iglesias popped out to end the frame.

Bottom 1st: Tigers 0, Astros 0

Jose Altuve notched a two-out single to left field, Carlos Correa followed with a single to center field but Justin Verlander was able to get out of the inning by getting Evan Gattis to ground out to third base.

George Springer grounded out back to the mound on Verlander's first pitch of the game. Josh Reddick flew out to center field for the second out of the inning.

Top 1st: Tigers 0, Astros 0

Miguel Cabrera doubled to left center with two outs but was thrown out at home to end the inning when Victor Martinez singled to shallow left field in the next at-bat.

I'm not sure what Dave Clark was thinking at third base. The ball was in left fielder Norichika Aoki's glove before Cabrera even hit the bag at third. He never had a chance.

Ian Kinsler flew out to center field and Tyler Collins grounded out to first to start the game against Houston starter Mike Fiers.

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1. Ian Kinsler, 2B

2. Tyler Collins, CF

3. Miguel Cabrera, 1B

4. Victor Martinez, DH

5. J.D. Martinez, RF

6. Justin Upton, LF

7. James McCann, C

8. Dixon Machado, 3B

9. Jose Iglesias, SS

Justin Verlander, SP


1. George Springer, CF

2. Josh Reddick, RF

3. Jose Altuve, 2B

4. Carlos Correa, SS

5. Evan Gattis, DH

6. Marwin Gonzalez, 1B

7. Alex Bregman, 3B

8. Juan Centeno, C

9. Norichika Aoki, LF

Michael Fiers, SP