After leading for six innings on Friday night, the Tigers surrendered an eighth-inning home run, losing to the visiting Astros, 6-5.
Jordan Zimmermann recorded a quality start for the Tigers (45-56), going seven full innings, allowing six hits an three earned runs while striking out two. However, he didn’t get a decision.
On the contrary, Friday’s start for Astros (68-34) ace Dallas Keuchel marked his first in two months. He was 9-0 on the year, but pitched just three innings, allowing six hits and three earned runs. It wasn’t his sharpest outing of the season, but he was clearly rusty.
Nick Castellanos led the Tigers with a 2-for-5 line, including a three-run home run in the second. Miguel Cabrera also knocked one out of the park, but it was of the solo variety.
No pitcher was more unsuccessful than Bruce Rondon, though.
After allowing five runs in his previous two appearances, along with a beaning of Mike Moustakas on Wednesday, he gave up three hits, including a three-run homer to Josh Reddick, in just one-third of an inning. He surrendered a two-run lead in the eighth.
Brad Ausmus will surely have to answer some questions regarding his thought process with Rondon’s relief appearance.
The Tigers have now lost 7-of-9 games since their four-game win streak following the All-Star Break.
Matthew Boyd (4-5, 5.48 ERA) will take the mound in the second game of the series Saturday for the Tigers and Collin McHugh (0-0, 7.71) will get the nod for the Astros.
Bottom 9th: Astros 6, Tigers 5
Ken Giles entered the game for the Astros, looking for the save.
Nick Castellanos fouled out down the first base line and Justin Upton struck out looking for two quick outs. Miguel Cabrera ended the game with a swinging strikeout.
Top 9th: Astros 6, Tigers 5
Daniel Stumpf remained in the game for the Tigers.
However, he faced just one batter, getting Brian McCann to ground out to short. Shane Greene then entered the game for the Tigers on the mound.
Alex Bregman grounded out on just one pitch to third and then Jake Marisnick popped out to second.
Bottom 8th: Astros 6, Tigers 5
Chris Devenski entered the game in relief for Brad Peacock. Jake Marisnick replaced Norichika Aoki and played center as Josh Reddick moved to right field.
Andrew Romine swung on the first pitch and popped out to short. Dixon Machado then worked a much-needed walk.
Ian Kinsler ended the inning with a double play to short.
Top 8th: Astros 6, Tigers 5
In somewhat of a shocking move, Jordan Zimmermann was replaced by Bruce Rondon.
Groans ran rampant as Derek Fisher singled to center to lead off the eighth. Even more so, along with some boos, after Jose Altuve hit a line drive single to left. Josh Reddick then sent the fans into a craze with a three-run homer to take an eighth-inning lead.
Yuli Gurriel fouled out to Miguel Cabrera.
Daniel Stumpf replaced Rondon with one out.
Marwin Gonzalez grounded out to third and Carlos Beltran checked his swing but went too far to end the nightmare inning.
Bottom 7th: Tigers 5, Astros 3
Brad Peacock finished his fourth full inning for the Astros in the seventh.
Justin Upton lined out to right and Miguel Cabrera grounded out before Mikie Mahtook worked a two-out walk on just five pitches. On a rare play, Victor Martinez's single to right field scored Mahtook from first.
James McCann flew out to right to end the seventh.
Top 7th: Tigers 4, Astros 3
Jordan Zimmermann's pitch count was in good shape to start the seventh, sitting at just 70.
Brian McCann grounded out to first base as Miguel Cabrera tossed to Zimmermann who covered. Alex Bregman then grounded out to third. Two pitches later, Norichika Aoki grounded out as Cabrera hit a covering Zimmermann again.
Bottom 6th: Tigers 4, Astros 3
Brad Peacock remained on the mound for the Astros for the third straight inning.
Andrew Romine began by striking out swinging on three pitches. Dixon Machado then hit a sharp single to left before Ian Kinsler also struck out swinging on just three pitches. Nick Castellanos also struck out to end the sixth.
Top 6th: Tigers 4, Astros 3
Although it looked like he'd be knocked out early following a tough first couple of innings, Jordan Zimmermann took the mound again in the sixth.
The first batter, Josh Reddick, popped out to short and then Yuli Gurriel grounded out to third. Martin Gonzalez answered the quick two outs with a solo home run.
Zimmermann also got Carlos Beltran out for the first time as he flew out to left, ending the top of the sixth.
Bottom 5th: Tigers 4, Astros 2
In need of a hit to bust out of a month-long slump, Miguel Cabrera delivered with a solo home run which was just his third extra base hit in July.
Mikie Mahtook followed that up with a groundout to the pitcher, though. Victor Martinez popped out to third and James McCann grounded out to end the inning.
Top 5th: Tigers 3, Astros 2
Jordan Zimmermann got just what he needed in the fifth: a quick 1-2-3 inning.
Norichika Aoki lined out to a waiting Miguel Cabrera, Derek Fisher struck out swinging on three pitches and Jose Altuve lined out to center field to end the fifth quickly.
Bottom 4th: Tigers 3, Astros 2
Brad Peacock entered the game for Dallas Keuchel to start the fourth as he was likely on a pitch restriction.
Ian Kinsler grounded out to short, Nick Castellanos flew out to left and Justin Upton struck out on a foul tip.
Top 4th: Tigers 3, Astros 2
A lineout to left field by Marwin Gonzalez started the fourth before Carlos Beltran hit a one-out double to left. Brian McCann lined out to short, holding Beltran.
Alex Bregman ended the top half of the inning by flying out to center.
Bottom 3rd: Tigers 3, Astros 2
Mikie Mahtook kicked off the home half of the third with a groundout to short. Victor Martinez then grounded out to third.
James McCann looked to start a two-out threat, notching a single to right. Andrew Romine followed that up with a single on a line drive to right as well. Neither would advance any further as Dixon Machado lined out to center.
Top 3rd: Tigers 3, Astros 2
Working with his first lead, Jordan Zimmermann looked to set the Astros down in order.
Norichika Aoki struck out swinging but Derek Fisher singled on a liner to right field. Jose Altuve then recorded his second extra base hit of the game, doubling to left.
Josh Reddick kept it going, hitting his second sacrifice fly of the game to center, plating Fisher. Yuli Gurriel then grounded to short for the third out.
Bottom 2nd: Tigers 3, Astros 1
On a 2-0 pitch, James McCann grounded to third for the first out and then Andrew Romine struck out swinging.
Dixon Machado then worked a two-out walk, setting up an Ian Kinsler double down the left-field line. Machado would be held at third. It wouldn't matter as Nick Castellanos brought them all in with a three-run home run to left center.
Justin Upton showed patience as well, working the second walk of the inning. Miguel Cabrera's struggles continued, though, as he grounded out to end the long second inning.
Top 2nd: Astros 1, Tigers 0
It only took Jordan Zimmermann two pitches to get Marwin Gonzalez out via fly ball to center. The next batter, Carlos Beltran, made up for the quick first out with an eight-pitch at-bat which ended with a line drive single to center.
Brian McCann popped out to third and Alex Bregman grounded out to second as Beltran never got into scoring position.
Bottom 1st: Astros 1, Tigers 0
The Tigers needed a response in the bottom half of the first and they threatened early.
Dallas Keuchel was returning from the DL for the first time in about two months and he had been on fire before his injury. He got Ian Kinsler to line out to center for the first out, but that was the easiest one.
Nick Castellanos singled to left field and then Justin Upton doubled, putting runners at second and third for Miguel Cabrera, but he struck out looking.
Mikie Mahtook walked to load the bases and then Victor Martinez struck out swinging
Top 1st: Astros 1, Tigers 0
Jordan Zimmermann took the mound, looking for a long-awaited quality start.
Derek Fisher lined out to first to start the game, but he was followed by Jose Altuve who tripled to center field. Josh Reddick hit a sacrifice fly to plate Altuve and then Yuli Gurriel flew out to left to end the top half.
TIGERS VS. ASTROS
When: Friday, 7:10 p.m.
Where: Comerica Park, Detroit
TV / radio: Fox Sports Detroit / 97.1 FM
Pitching matchup: Detroit’s Jordan Zimmermann (6-8, 5.81 ERA) vs. Houston’s Dallas Keuchel (9-0, 1.67 ERA)
1. Ian Kinsler, 2B
2. Nick Castellanos, 3B
3. Justin Upton, LF
4. Miguel Cabrera, 1B
5. Mikie Mahtook, CF
6. Victor Martinez, DH
7. James McCann, C
8. Andrew Romine, RF
9. Dixon Machado, SS
1. Derek Fisher, LF
2. Jose Altuve, 2B
3. Josh Reddick, CF
4. Yuli Gurriel, 1B
5. Marwin Gonzalez, SS
6. Carlos Beltran, DH
7. Brian McCann, C
8. Alex Bregman, 3B
9. Norichika Aoki, RF