May 7, 2014; Detroit, MI, USA; Detroit Tigers relief pitcher Joe Nathan (36) and first baseman Miguel Cabrera (24) celebrate after the game against the Houston Astros at Comerica Park. Detroit won 3-2. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports
The Detroit Tigers were successful in converting their eighth-straight victory with a 3-2 win over the Huston Astros on Wednesday night at Comerica Park. Detroit last lost on April 26.
Rick Porcello took the ball for the Tigers and turned in his second superb outing in a row, going 6.2 innings with five strikeouts, seven hits, two walks, and two runs allowed. It was the fourth time this season (in six starts) that he’s gone at least 6.2 innings with two runs or fewer allowed. In so doing, he lowered his season ERA to 3.49 with supporting peripherals that have resulted in 3.19 FIP and 3.17 xFIP.
Short version: Rick Porcello has been very good both (1) on this particular night and (2) on the season as a whole.
Offensively the Tigers didn’t bust out like they did last night (or in the previous series versus Kansas City), but they did manage three runs which was enough to stave off the Astros.
The scoring began right away in the first inning. Ian Kinsler led off the game with a walk and, after Torii Hunter flew out, Miguel Cabrera blasted his second homer in as many nights (his fourth on the season) to put the Tigers up 2-0 before many of the fans had even settled into their (wet) seats.
Houston was able to scratch across one run in the third inning. Marwin Gonzalez doubled off of Porcello to lead off the frame, and then proceeded to come around to score on the subsequent flyout and groundout. It was the first of only two occasions in which an Astros runner would reach second base with Porcello on the Mound.
The Tigers were able to extend their lead to 3-1 in the sixth inning when Victor Martinez led off the inning with a solo home run. It was the team’s second bomb of the game and Martinez’s sixth dinger of the (still relatively young) season.
The Astros would add another run in the seventh inning, but wouldn’t be able to catch the Tigers. A flyout and a strikeout retired the first two Houston batters of the inning, but a double, single, single plated the team’s second run and forced Porcello from the game. Joba Chamberlain entered in relief and induced an inning-ending groundout.
A one-run lead with two innings to go is a precarious position for a bullpen as shaky as the Tigers’, but they held strong on Wednesday. Chamberlain remained in the game for the eighth and sent down Houston 1-2-3, striking out the side. Closer Joe Nathan allowed the tying run to reach with two outs (after a groundout and a strikeout), but he fanned the final batter of the game to nail down the save for the home team.
The win moves the Tigers to 20-9 on the year — a .690 winning percentage that represents the high-water mark in all of the Major Leagues. A fine start indeed.