The Houston Astros picked up a victory in an error-plagued contest on Friday night when Jason Castro hit an 11th winning walk-off home run off Blaine Hardy. The 4-3 loss ended the Tigers’ winning streak at seven.
The Tigers had several threats early off Astros’ starter Brad Peacock, but ran into a smattering of outs on the bases. One that particularly hurt was J.D. Martinez‘s attempt to stretch a single into a double in the fourth inning, but was thrown out by fellow initial-named L.J. Hoes from left field. The next batter, Nick Castellanos, launched a ball deep into the seats in left center for a solo shot, putting Detroit up 2-1, but it might have been a two-run homer had J.D. played it safe.
The Astros, more specifically Jose Altuve, opened the scoring in the first inning off Justin Verlander. The red-hot Altuve led off the game with a single. He then stole second and stole third. Alex Avila‘s errant throw to third went wide of Castellanos, allowing Altuve to trot home with the game’s first run. The Tigers tied it in their next-at bat when an Avila double brought home J.D. Martinez, but Alex was thrown out attempted to take second on the base hit.
Altuve accounted for two more runs in the fifth inning when he doubled home the second run for Houston. A couple batters later, Altuve, the human spark plug, came home on an Avila pick-off attempt and scored when Avila missed the tagged on the relay from Miguel Cabrera, allowing the Astros to reclaim the lead at 3-2.
A few innings later, the Astros gave it right back. Two Houston errors were extremely costly. The first one came when Eugenio Suarez popped it up in foul grounds and there was confusion between George Springer and Jon Singleton and the ball dropped in. A couple pitches later, Suarez got the walk. He moved to second with two outs and Cabrera bounced to Jonathan Villar which looked like an easy inning-ending play, but he bounced it to Singleton and Suarez was able to score and tie the game at 3.
Verlander had another strong start. Though he surrendered six hits and three runs, he struck out eight and only allowed one run to score with an RBI, the other two came the Avila throwing error and failed pick-off attempt.
The teams will face off in the middle game of their three game set on Saturday afternoon. Max Scherzer (9-3, 3.71) will be looking to do what Rick Porcello did a couple days ago and win his 10th game of the season. He’ll be faced by Dallas Keuchel (8-5, 2.78) looking to snap a modest two-game losing streak after going 6-1 in seven starts, including a 6-2 win against the Tigers on May 8.
First pitch is set for 4:10.