May 8, 2014; Detroit, MI, USA; Detroit Tigers first basemanVictor Martinez
(41) hits a home run in the fourth inning against the Houston Astros at Comerica Park. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports
The Houston Astros quieted the Detroit Tigers bats in the series finale and were able to steal a victory on the road by defeating the Tigers 6-2 on Thursday. The Tigers were only able to total seven hits on the day, three of which came off the bat of Victor Martinez.
Martinez went 3-for-4 including a solo home run in the fourth inning to give the Tigers an early 2-0 lead and what looked like a sweep of the lowly Astros. The Tigers designated hitter now leads the team with a .333 batting average and has gotten off to a much better start than he did in 2013.
Drew Smyly was on the bump for the Tigers for the matinee game and was solid until the top of the fifth inning when George Springer belted a line drive solo home run over the right field fence to pull the Astros within one run of the Tigers. Later in the inning, Jose Altuve would rip a two-run double off Smyly that plated Carlos Corporan and L.J. Hoes to give the Astros a 3-2 lead.
Nick Castellanos also hit an RBI double in the second inning to put the Tigers on the board. The rookie has had a solid start to the 2014 season that has included four home runs and 19 RBI.
The bullpen continued its recent struggles, allowing three earned runs over 3.2 innings. Evan Reed came in relief for Drew Smyly and allowed one run. Justin Miller would give up a two-run homer to Matt Dominguez in the top of the ninth to push the Astros lead to four innings.
The star of the game was the Astros left fielder. Hoes went 3-for-3 with a run scored, but he was the only Astro to record multiple hits on Thursday.
The visiting team also got a great start from Dallas Keuchel, who allowed just six hits and two runs while striking out seven over 7 2/3 innings pitched. The Tigers struggled to get anything going against the lefty after Martinez’s homer in the fourth inning.
The Tigers snapped their eight-game winning streak with the loss, but still hold a 4 1/2 game lead over the Chicago White Sox in the AL Central division.
Next up for the Tigers (20-10) is the Minnesota Twins (15-18), who travel to Comerica Park as the Tigers complete their home stand. Justin Verlander will look to pick up his fifth win on the season as he takes on Phil Hughes, former teammate of current Tiger Joba Chamberlain. First pitch is set for Friday at 7:08 p.m. EST.