Altuve, Springer homer to help Astros defeat Tigers 5-4

HOUSTON (AP) — After hitting his fourth home run of the season, Jose Altuve said he is not trying for long balls.

Altuve led off Houston's first inning with a solo home run and had three RBIs, and George Springer also hit a solo homer to help the Astros defeat the Detroit Tigers 5-4 Sunday for their first series win this season.

"I'm just trying to get on base and let Carlos (Correa) and George do the damage," Altuve said.

Altuve's home run to right field was his sixth career leadoff homer and first career home run to straightaway right field.

"Don't let his size sneak up on you," Springer said. "He's got some pop."

Springer singled in the first and scored on Anibal Sanchez's wild pitch, and Springer hit his second home run in as many days leading off the third. Altuve made it 5-0 with a two-run single in the fourth.

"I think it was important for us to get the win," Houston manager A.J. Hinch said.

Jarrod Saltalamacchia and J.D. Martinez hit solo homers for Detroit. Ian Kinsler had a two-run homer, and the second baseman made a heads-up play in the fifth when he let a Tyler White infield popup drop in front of him in order to throw out Colby Rasmus at second.

"Sometimes when you try to make so many adjustments, the power seems to go away because you're trying to change some things," Kinsler said. "Now I'm just trying to get back into creating some more power, and it's working well."

Mike Fiers (1-1) gave up four runs and seven hits in 5 2/3 innings with five strikeouts. Fiers had allowed eight runs and three home runs over 11 innings during his first two starts.

"My team picked me up," Fiers said. "It's a bad start for me. I kept us in the game, but these guys played great defense for me and hit as well. I think they picked me up today for use."

Ken Giles escaped first-and-third trouble in the eighth when Saltalamacchia hit an inning-ending groundout. Luke Gregerson got three straight outs in the ninth for his fourth save in four chances.

Sanchez (2-1) was tagged for five runs — four earned — and eight hits in five innings with eight strikeouts. Sanchez had allowed four runs and one home run over his first two outings.

"Overall, the pitches are good," Detroit manager Brad Ausmus said. "He's controlling the running game. His stuff looks good. He's got good finish through the zone."


Justin Upton was ejected in the seventh by plate umpire Rob Drake. Upton was called out on strikes, threw his bat and was immediately tossed by Drake. Tyler Collins replaced Upton in left field.


Hinch said he would like Evan Gattis to catch in the next week to 10 days. Gattis has caught a few bullpens in the last couple days, Hinch said.

"The only uncomfortable part for me is him doing it at the major league level, having not done it for a year," Hinch said.

The last time Gattis caught in the majors was in 2014 with Atlanta.


Tigers: OF Cameron Maybin (broken left wrist) continued his rehab assignment with Triple-A Toledo Sunday, going 2 for 4 with a double and two RBIs. Maybin is 8 for 37 (.216) in 10 games during his rehab assignment.

Astros: SS Carlos Correa and OF Carlos Gomez were out of the lineup Sunday to rest. ... RHP Lance McCullers (right shoulder soreness) played catch Sunday. Hinch said he had a good day and felt pretty good, and he will increase his throwing program over the next couple of days.


Tigers: RHP Shane Greene (1-0) is slated to start Tuesday's series opener at Kansas City.

Astros: RHP Scott Feldman is to start against his former team when Houston opens a three-game series at Texas on Tuesday.