Astros can't build on big 1st inning in 5-3 loss to Tigers

Houston Astros

HOUSTON (AP) — The Houston Astros jumped on Justin Verlander for three runs in the first inning on Saturday night.

Then Verlander settled in and Houston's offense stalled, allowing the Tigers to rally for a 5-3 win.

Jarrod Saltalamacchia hit a go-ahead two-run homer in the sixth inning to help the Tigers to the victory.

Detroit trailed 3-0 after George Springer and Tyler White both homered off Verlander (1-1) in the first inning. Detroit scored a run in the second and cut the lead to 1 in the fifth when White was charged with an error after a throw busted through the webbing of his glove, allowing another run to score.

There was one out in the sixth when Saltalamacchia connected against Collin McHugh (1-2), launching his two-strike shot off the foul pole in right field to make it 4-3. Victor Martinez added an insurance run with an RBI double in the ninth inning.

After his tough first inning, Verlander allowed only singles through the next five innings for his first win this season. He struck out eight to improve to 3-0 with 45 strikeouts in his career against Houston.

"It's obviously good to open up with the lead but it's not how you start," Springer said. "We understand that we have to keep scoring some runs. He did a good job slowing us down."

Houston manager A.J. Hinch was disappointed that his team wasn't able to build off the momentum of its big first inning.

"I think (Verlander) made a few adjustments and they made a couple good defensive plays, a couple of double plays that hurt us," he said. "They made the plays, he made the pitches. He did enough to control certain aspects of our order."

Francisco Rodriguez pitched a perfect ninth for his third save.

McHugh allowed 10 hits and four runs in 5 1/3 innings in the loss.

"I thought McHugh hung in there pretty well," Hinch said. "He obviously had a couple of innings where they got back to back doubles, got a couple hits in a row, they had guys on base the whole game. Just traffic all over the place and they never let up."

Saltalamacchia hit one of six doubles by the Tigers and Nick Castellanos and Miguel Cabrera had three hits apiece on a night Detroit finished with a season-high 15 hits.

Jose Altuve hit a leadoff single before Springer's two-run shot, which clanged off the foul pole in left field, made it 2-0. White's two-out homer pushed the lead to 3-0. The rookie leads the Astros with four homers.

Martinez doubled to start the second and scored on a double with one out by Castellanos that got Detroit within 3-1. But Castellanos was thrown out trying to stretch it into a triple.

Jose Iglesias doubled to start the fifth and cut the lead to 3-2 when he scored on the error by White with one out. The error came when a throw from Luis Valbuena went through the webbing of White's glove, allowing Justin Upton to get to second and Iglesias to casually trot home.

"I felt like I caught it and then I saw it went by me and I looked at my glove and saw it was broke," White said. "There was nothing I could do."

Upton went 0 for 5 with three strikeouts to snap a six-game hitting streak and Houston's Colby Rasmus failed to reach safely for the first time this season after going 0 for 4 and striking out three times.


Astros: The next rehabilitation start for RHP Lance McCullers (right shoulder soreness) is on hold while he deals with lingering soreness from his first start on Monday night with Double-A Corpus Christi. Manager A.J. Hinch said they'll evaluate him daily and reschedule his start as soon as he feels better.


Tigers: Anibal Sanchez (2-0, 3.38) will try to improve to 3-0 when he starts on Sunday. It's the first time in his career that he's been 2-0 after his first two starts.

Astros: Mike Fiers (0-1, 6.55) looks for his first win in his third start of the season. He allowed a three-run homer in the first inning of his last start before settling down to pitch five scoreless innings in a loss to the Royals on Tuesday.