The Detroit bats woke up in the 11th inning to beat Houston 4-1 in game two of the three-game weekend series at Minute Maid Park.
The Tigers scored the first run of the ballgame on a controversial play in the fifth inning. Tigers centerfielder Anthony Gose walked with two outs and stole second in front of second basemen Ian Kinsler. Kinsler lined a 2-1 pitch into left field that was initially scored out number three. Detroit skipper Brad Ausmus challenged the call which was overturned and ruled a single that allowed Gose to score from second. After the safe call was made, Astros Manager A.J. Hinch was ejected for arguing the call. Hinch was asked after the game about his conversation with home plate umpire Bill Miller.
“I didn’t have a disagreement with anything. I wanted an explanation,” Hinch said. “I wanted to know what ruling would come out of New York that would create Gose scoring. I think they got it right. I think Gose should score. The end result would have been 1-0. There’s so much to take away from that play if you are given an explanation.”
Both Collin McHugh and his counterpart Justin Verlander had their best stuff as both went seven full innings. The only difference between the final lines was the one run charged to McHugh. The Detroit bullpen held the Astros scoreless in the eighth before Preston Tucker led-off the ninth with a moonshot 421 feet to right field for his 12th homer of the year.
“Verlander doesn’t give in much. We got a very strong version of Verlander tonight, and he got stronger as the game went along. He didn’t give us too many pitches to hit. He pitches to the corners and he pitches with good stuff,” Hinch continued.
“Collin had the fastball-curveball combo working. His fastball had some finish to it. The curveball below the zone, which we’ve seen be effective, was effective. It was a good outing for him. He was matching Verlander inning for inning.”
In extra innings, the Tigers took the lead for good with 3 runs in the 11th. Shortstop Jose Iglesias got the inning started with an infield single off of Pat Neshek, followed by a walk to Miguel Cabrera. Victor Martinez followed the walk with a double into deep left field, and J.D. Martinez and Tyler Collins followed up with back-to-back singles to score two more runs and give the Tigers a 4-1 cushion.