Castro drove a fastball into the right-field seats to help the
Houston Astros survive a critical late-game error and claim a 4-3
victory over the Detroit Tigers at Minute Maid Park.
The homer was the seventh of the season for Castro and his first
since May 17. His blast came against Tigers left-hander Blaine Hardy
(0-1) and delivered Astros right-hander Jake Buchanan (1-0) his
first career victory. Buchanan worked a perfect 11th inning as the
fifth reliever out of the Houston bullpen.
Before Castro struck his decisive blow, the Astros' 3-4-5 hitters --
first baseman Jon Singleton, third baseman Matt Dominguez and Castro
-- were a combined 0-for-12 with two walks against the Tigers.
"We had a great game going all night tonight," Castro said. "Guys
getting on base, (Brad) Peacock threw really well, bullpen came in
and did a great job. We had a couple of miscues here and there, but
overall I thought we played really, really well and we deserved to
win that game. So it was nice to pull it out."
Astros right-hander Jose Veras was poised to preserve the 3-2 lead
he inherited despite walking nine-hole hitter Eugenio Suarez to open
With Suarez on second base and two outs, Veras apparently won a
protracted battle with Tigers first baseman Miguel Cabrera, inducing
a routine ground ball to shortstop Jonathan Villar that he fielded
before firing an errant throw to first. The ball short-hopped
Singleton and rolled far enough back to the infield that Suarez
rounded third and scored the tying run.
Astros second baseman Jose Altuve proved to be a serious nuisance to
Tigers right-hander Justin Verlander, singlehandedly undermining the
progress Verlander sought after a rough stretch earlier this month.
After leading off the first inning with a single to left, Altuve
stole second base, advanced to third on a wild pitch and scored when
Tigers catcher Alex Avila threw wildly attempting to cut down Altuve
as he slid into third.
In the fifth, Altuve struck again.
With left fielder L.J. Hoes at third after a single, a Verlander
throwing error on a pickoff attempt and a sacrifice bunt, Altuve
deposited a run-scoring hit into left center. Altuve surprisingly
stretched a routine single into a double and, following an infield
single by right fielder George Springer, took advantage of Avila one
Avila unwisely attempted to pick off Springer at first base,
prompting Altuve to execute a daring steal of home. He beat the
throw from Cabrera and delivered the Astros a 3-2 lead. Altuve
finished 4-for-5 with two steals for his sixth career four-hit game.
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"Being able to take that base in the third led to a run," Verlander
said. "Being able to take the extra base on the pickoff to first was
another run. He's one of those guys you have to keep off the base
paths, and that is not easily done."
Astros manager Bo Porter said, "It's not just the hits; it's all the
other intangibles, the game within the game and just realizing how
much he impacts the game. From the time he gets on base to the pitch
selection of the guys coming behind him, it's impressive.
"It's impressive to have the kind of impact he's having on the
baseball game each and every time he takes the field."
Avila did pull the Tigers even at 1 with his RBI single in the
second inning that scored left fielder J.D. Martinez.
Detroit grabbed a 2-1 lead in the fourth when third baseman Nick
Castellanos belted his sixth home run of the season to left field
off Peacock. The Tigers' rally offered hope for an extension of
their seven-game winning streak, but Castro reversed that trend with
his last swing.
"Everything has come together over the last week," Tigers second
baseman Ian Kinsler said. "Every day we are getting solid pitching,
and we have been able to score runs. You do that every day and you
are going to be able to win games. Tonight, it was the offensive
side of it couldn't catch a break."
NOTES: Astros CF Dexter Fowler was a late scratch from the starting
lineup with back tightness. LF Alex Presley shifted defensively to
replace Fowler while LF L.J. Hoes was inserted into the lineup. ...
Tigers RHP Justin Verlander threw a second bullpen session between
his previous start and his outing against the Astros. Verlander had
an extra day of rest and used the second bullpen session to further
reinforce recent mechanical adjustments designed to get him moving
more toward the plate and less laterally during delivery. ... Astros
RHP Anthony Bass will make one more multi-inning rehab start before
a decision is made on his reinstatement from the 15-day disabled
list. Bass was placed on the DL on May 14 with a right intercostal
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