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Astros 9, Tigers 2: Sometimes it’s just not your night

The pitching wasn’t great and the hitters couldn’t do a lot. At least the new guy got another pair of hits, though, which is nice.

Houston Astros v Detroit Tigers Photo by Duane Burleson/Getty Images

After a thrilling, come-from-behind, walk-off win on Friday night, the Tigers couldn’t get a whole lot going on Saturday evening — despite the Whale Mural being back in its full splendour — as they dropped a 9-2 decision to the Astros.

Eduardo Rodriguez had been solid in all of his previous August starts, except for the egg he laid against the Crimson Stockings on the 13th. His next outing, in which he pitched into the seventh against Cleveland, was a nice bounce-back in which he got a ton of ground balls. (As we know, ground balls are more democratic than strikeouts.) He wouldn’t get through the fifth tonight, though.

Facing Rodriguez for the Astros was Hunter Brown, in his first full season after a cup of coffee last year. He’s been okay so far, generally keeping home runs and strikeouts down, but he does give up quite a few hits (130, in 128 innings coming into today). He got roughed-up by the Mariners in his start before this one, but who aren’t the M’s roughing-up these days? Fun fact: Brown is a product of Wayne State University and was born in Detroit.

The Astros wasted no time scoring, with a single and a double to lead off the game to take a 1-0 lead. Rodriguez was looking a little out-of-sorts early, prompting a two-out Chris Fetter mound visit, but he righted the ship and got out of the inning with two on base. In the second he left the bases loaded... and after two innings he’d thrown 48 pitches. But then he only needed nine pitches to get through the third and ten for the fourth, so he did dial it in for a bit there.

The Tigers got on the board in the bottom of the fourth, courtesy of... Parker Meadows! Kerry Carpenter singled with one out, stole second (his first steal of the year), and with two outs Meadows hit a single off José Altuve’s glove, allowing Carpenter to round third and score, tying the game at ones.

Meadows then stole second easily — Andy Dirks on the radio broadcast observed, “He takes, like, six steps to get to second!” — but then Javier Báez struck out looking on a perfect four-seamer on the outside corner for the third out.

Houston got back on top in the fifth, with Alex Bregman hitting a two-run home run for a 3-1 lead. Yordan Alvarez followed with a sharp single, and the hard contact appeared to be back. After a two-out walk to Yainer Diaz, Rodriguez’s day was done and Will Vest took over with runners on first and second. He gave up a soft liner down the right-field line to score another run and make it a 4-1 game.

In the bottom of the inning the Tigers put runners on the corners with none out: Zach McKinstry walked, and Carson Kelly singled to push McKinstry to third. Riley Greene brought McKinstry home with a sacrifice fly to left-center, cutting the lead to 4-2.

The lead opened back up to 5-2 with back-to-back doubles to start off the sixth by Altuve and Alex Bregman, and that was the end of Vest’s day. Andrew Vasquez was brought in for some reason, and another Alvarez single made it 6-2. Vasquez did manage to get out of the inning, leaving the bases loaded with a comebacker he fielded easily.

Beau Brieske relieved Vasquez in the seventh, and he completed the inning without incident. José Cisnero came in for the eighth, and the Astros added a trio of runs to blow the thing open.

The Tigers got a couple of runners on in the bottom of the eighth with Carpenter singling and Meadows hitting a double, but they’d both be marooned in scoring position, oh well.

Brendan White took over in the ninth and it looked like this thing might just get completely out-of-hand, but he managed to strand a pair of runners to wiggle out of the inning unscored-upon. Man, if it wasn’t for all those Houston LOBsters (14 in total), this thing would’ve even been uglier than it was already.

Casey Mize Throws Live BP

He touched mid- to high-90s with his fastball, and even busted out some curveballs. Lookin’ good!

Notes and Whatnot

  • In his previous 21 games before today, Akil Baddoo’s slash line was .274/.328/.516, for an OPS of .845. This includes four home runs and three doubles.
  • Matt Vierling’s previous 23 games, though? His slash line was .253/.301/.310 for a .611 OPS. Ouch.
  • AJ Hinch said today he was going to start Miguel Cabrera on Sunday afternoon, thereby ensuring a Miggy-JV matchup. That’s going to be some must-see baseball, right there.
  • On this day in 1768, James Cook set sail on HMS Endeavour on an around-the-world voyage. He went west and south from England, going around the bottom of South America, crossing the South Pacific (and watching a transit of Venus across the Sun’s disc from Tahiti), dipsy-doodling around New Zealand, then continuing on past Indonesia, rounding the Cape of Good Hope, returning home three years after he left. I bet he got some sweet travel-mile points out of that trip.