Boyd cools off Astros bats
(c) Associated Press
Collin McHugh was outstanding in his second start since coming off the disabled list but a bullpen meltdown turned a 3-1 lead into a 5-3 loss to the Tigers Saturday. McHugh needed only 82 pitches to complete six innings, allowing one run on four hits and a walk. Collin had his breaking ball working, which helped him rack up seven strikeouts in the game.
Things got off to an interesting start in Detroit. Josh Reddick led off the game with a grounder to third and was ruled out at first. But the Astros challenged the call and replay clearly showed that Reddick was safe. The call was overturned and, two outs later, Reddick came around to score on a home run by Evan Gattis.
The Astros extended their lead to 3-0 in the fourth. Carlos Beltran grounded a 1-out single through the left side and Derek Fisher drove him in with his first career triple. Matthew Boyd struck out Alex Bregman and Jake Marisnick to end the threat. Boyd would go on to retire nine of the next ten Astros that came to the plate on the way to his fifth win of the season.
In somewhat of a surprise move, A.J. Hinch called on Francis Martes to take over on the mound with a 3-1 lead in the seventh. Customarily the Astros' skipper would go with one of his more experienced relievers in that situation but, Martes had been terrific in his last five appearances and it seemed like a good move.
Unfortunately for Hinch and the Astros, Martes didn't get it done this time around. Nick Castellanos led off the inning and worked a full count before getting hit by a pitch. Although it looked like the pitch may have actually hit the knob of the bat, the Astros didn't challenge the call.
Victor Martinez followed with a sharp ground ball to the right side that appeared to catch a piece of Marwin Gonzalez' glove on its way to the outfield. Castellanos advanced all the way to third and came home when Martes uncorked an extremely wild pitch. Martes would temporarily recover, striking out Alex Avila and Mikey Mahtook before Julio Iglesias' double down the rightfield line tied the score.
Chris Devenski was brought in from the bullpen to try to stop the bleeding. But Ian Kinsler slapped Devo's first pitch into rightfield for a single, plating Iglesias, and giving the Tigers their first lead of the game.
The theme of "score on an Astros reliever" continued in the eighth when Luke Gregerson issued a leadoff walk to Justin Upton and basically let him steal second base uncontested. Upton would come home with the game's final run on V-Mart's third hit of the night as Detroit evened the series at one game apiece.
Sunday's finale gets underway at 12:10 CDT when Lance McCullers and Justin Verlander take the hill at Comerica Park. Meanwhile, in Cooperstown New York, a large contingent of Astros fans will be on hand as Jeff Bagwell is inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame.
- Greg Thurston