It’s not easy to snap a losing streak. For a while, it looked like an early lead would be all for nought for the Detroit Tigers. However, a strong outing from starter Daniel Norris and some late-game heroics from Jose Iglesias helped the Tigers break a 2-2 tie and stop a three-game skid. They beat the Houston Astros 6-3, and put themselves in a position to earn a series split on Thursday.
After a pair of scoreless innings to open the game, the Tigers broke through in the third. Jose Iglesias singled to lead off the inning, then advanced to third base on a double by Ian Kinsler. Iglesias scored on a wild pitch, giving the Tigers their first lead since Saturday’s win over the Texas Rangers. Kinsler padded the lead to 2-0 when he scored on a double play ball later in the frame.
Unfortunately, the Detroit lead would not last long. George Springer led off the bottom of the third by reaching base on catcher’s interference. Jose Altuve doubled Springer over to third base, and Springer scored the Astros’ first run on a sacrifice fly by Evan Gattis.
The Astros added another run in the fourth inning in nearly the exact same pattern. Yulieski Gurriel walked to lead off the frame, then moved to third base on an Alex Bregman double. Gurriel scored on a Nori Aoki sacrifice fly, tying the game at two.
Both starters settled in after that. The two teams combined for just one baserunner and few hard-hit balls over the next three innings. Norris exited the game after retiring one batter in the seventh, and Shane Greene quickly dispatched Jake Marisnick and Springer to end the inning. Charlie Morton managed to last seven innings, allowing just two runs on four hits.
Normally, a bullpen vs. bullpen matchup would not go the Tigers’ way. However, Iglesias and Kinsler combined again to deliver runs for Detroit. Iglesias doubled off Astros reliever Chris Devenski to lead off the eighth, then Kinsler singled up the middle. Iglesias was held at third base on the play, but Kinsler advanced to second on a high throw from Marisnick. The two baserunners scored on groundouts by Alex Avila and Victor Martinez, respectively, to give the Tigers a 4-2 lead.
The Tigers padded their margin with a pair of runs in the ninth, courtesy of a two-run homer from — who else? — Jose Iglesias. It was his second of the season.
- Daniel Norris: While he has a pair of eight-strikeout games on his resume already, this was Norris’ best outing of the season. He pounded the strike zone (for him), throwing 60 of 98 pitches for strikes. There were only a few hard-hit balls, and he buckled down with runners in scoring position.
- Jose Iglesias: Iglesias was truly a second leadoff man for the Tigers in this game. He had three hits — two to lead off innings — scored three times, and drove in a pair of runs with a ninth-inning homer. His double to start off the eighth inning was arguably the play of the game for Detroit, and he led the team with +.262 WPA.
- Ian Kinsler: Two hits, two runs scored. Kinsler made a huge play in the eighth, taking second base on an errant throw by center fielder Jake Marisnick. If Kinsler doesn’t advance, there’s a chance he does not score an important insurance run in that inning.