Jose Iglesias had a big night for Detroit
(c) Associated Press
Charlie Morton pitched seven strong innings Wednesday night but a lack of run support coupled with some late offense by the Tigers resulted in a 6-3 loss for the Astros. Morton surrendered only four hits and three walks in seven innings and left the game after 96 pitches with the score knotted at two. After giving up a pair of runs in the third inning Morton retired 14 of the final 15 batters he faced, allowing only a soft single to left by Victor Martinez in the sixth.
The Astros plated single runs in the third and fourth, but failed to capitalize on some other opportunities in the early innings. That would prove costly as Detroit starter Daniel Norris settled in and retired the last ten batters he faced before exiting with one out in the bottom of the seventh.
Chris Devenski relieved Morton in the eighth and Jose Iglesias greeted him with a line drive double just out of the reach of a leaping Alex Bregman at third base. Ian Kinsler followed with a single to centerfield and moved into scoring position when Jake Marisnick air-mailed a throw to the plate. That helped the Tigers score two runs in the inning on a couple of ground outs to take a 4-2 lead.
Jordan Jankowski came out of the Astros' bullpen to make his big league debut in the ninth. JJ struck out the first two men he faced before Tyler Collins smacked a triple down the rightfield line. Iglesias came up next and hit a fly ball to left that probably would have been an out in any Pacific Coast League stadium. But the ball settled into the front row of The Crawford Boxes 348 feet from home plate, extending Detroit's lead to 6-4. Jankowski struck out the next batter for good measure but the damage was already done.
Bregman broke a streak of 17 straight outs by Astros hitters with a home run in the bottom of the ninth but that was the end of the scoring. Alex had three of Houston's six hits in the ballgame. Devenski took the loss to drop to 3-3 for the year and the Astros missed a chance to extend their 7-game lead in the standings.
The finale of the 4-game series is slated for 7:10 on Thursday with Justin Verlander scheduled to start against Mike "gopher-ball" Fiers. The Astros hope to get Carlos Correa back in the lineup. The shortstop has missed the last two games due to illness.
- Greg Thurston