Houston Astros Triple-up the Detroit Tigers, 3-2
By Tom Pollin
The Detroit Tigers took a 2-1 lead in the fifth inning following two fielding miscues but the Astros flashed the leather when it counted on their way to a 3-2 victory at Comerica Park.
It was a day dominated by defense from both teams, and missed opportunities by the Tigers off of Astros starter Lance McCullers (1-0).
Starter Kyle Lobstein (3-5) was the beneficiary of great middle-infield glove-work in the opening inning. With Jonathan Villar on first, George Springer grounded sharply over second base. Ian Kinsler snared it and flipped to Jose Iglesias to turn the 4-6-3 double play to end the inning.
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The Astros opened the scoring in the third when Marwin Gonzalez led off with a double to left. After he reached third on a ground out Jose Altuve drove a low, outside pitch to deep center for a sacrifice fly and a 1-0 lead.
The Tigers answered back in their half of the third when, with one out, Iglesias, running hard down the first base line, beat out an infield hit. Anthony Gose followed with a deep drive that bounced just in front of the 420 foot mark in center field for a double. With two out, a wild pitch on an intentional walk to Miguel Cabrera sent Gose to third but he died there when J. D. Martinez grounded to McCullers to end the threat.
Lobstein caused trouble for himself in the fourth. After two quick outs he walked Preston Tucker, Chris Carter and Jason Castro to load the bases. He got Gonzalez to ground into a first-pitch force out to escape the danger but the bout of wildness put him at the 54 pitch mark for the game.
In the fifth the Astros gifted the Tigers a run then stole away the momentum for the rest of the game.
After James McCann doubled, Iglesias grounded to Carter at first base. He turned to flip the ball to McCullers for the out had to hold when the pitcher failed to get to the bag. McCann advanced to third on the play. Gose followed with a ground ball to second baseman Jose Altuve, who flipped the ball past Gonzalez into short left field for an error that allowed McCann to score.
Ahead 2-1 with runners on first and second and no outs it appeared the Tigers were ready to break the game open until Ian Kinsler grounded sharply to third. Jonathan Villar stepped on the bag, whipped a throw to Altuve at second who relayed to first to complete the around-the-horn triple play. The Tigers would not threaten again.
The Astros followed up their triple play by retaking the lead in the sixth inning. Lobstein easily retired the first two hitters but never got the third out. Preston Tucker singled to center. Carter followed with another single to put runners on first and second. Castro singled to left to score Tucker and Carter advance to third when Yeonis Cespedes’ throw bounce away from McCann.
Al Alburquerque came in to relieve Lobstein and gave up a single to Gonzalez that scored Carter before getting Jake Marisnick to line out to Kinsler to end the inning. The Astros carried that 3-2 lead into the ninth then turned the game over to closer Luke Gregerson who retired the side in order to record his 11th save of the season.
The Tigers will attempt to take the rubber game of the series tomorrow afternoon with Anibal Sanchez (3-5) taking the mound against Roberto Hernandez (2-3).