(SportsNetwork.com) - After having their seven-game win streak stopped on Friday night, the Detroit Tigers try to get back on track this afternoon at Minute Maid Park as they battle the Houston Astros in the second of three games.
Detroit, which is in the midst of a nine-game road jaunt, is 10 games over .500 away from home as it leads the American League Central standings by 3 1/2 games at the moment. However, the club was taken to extra innings last night and came up short in a 4-3 final through 11.
Detroit starter Justin Verlander made it through only six innings, giving up three runs on six hits, but managed to strike out eight before giving way to the bullpen.
Offensively, Nick Castellanos logged his sixth home run of the season, while Ian Kinsler accounted for three hits and J.D. Martinez two more.
The hero of the game for the Astros, a team which is still in last place in the AL West, was catcher Jason Castro, who delivered the game-winning home run in the bottom of the 11th. Now batting .342, Jose Altuve produced four of his team's nine hits and scored twice.
Altuve, who stole a couple of bases and has now been successful in all but three of his 35 attempts in that department, leads the majors with 111 hits.
"When you start to talk about MVP, you ask yourself the question: 'If you take that player off that team, where would they be?'" Astros manager Bo Porter said of Altuve. "Lord, I don't even want to think about that. Retract that."
Houston reliever Jake Buchanan was credited with the win, the first of his major league career. Brad Peacock made it through 6 2/3 innings to begin the meeting, permitting two runs on seven hits and a couple walks, striking out three.
The Astros have now won back-to-back contests after posting just a single victory in the previous nine decisions.
Still trying to put an awful performance against Kansas City back on June 17 out of his mind, Max Scherzer again heads to the hill for the Tigers this afternoon. Now gunning for his 10th win of 2013, the right-hander was shelled by the Royals 11 days ago when he allowed 10 runs on 10 hits in just four innings.
Scherzer has hopefully put that lackluster effort behind him and took the first step in doing so last weekend when he came out on top against the Cleveland Indians on the road. Against the Tribe, Scherzer gave up just a single run on six hits and fanned eight, giving him 119 strikeouts on the season.
This will be the seventh appearance (sixth start) for Scherzer versus Houston in his career and already he has a 3-1 record and a 3.52 ERA to show for his efforts.
Dallas Keuchel was originally scheduled to make the start for the Astros today, but inflammation in his left wrist has led to him being taken out of the rotation for the time being. As a result, Brett Oberholtzer has been called up from Triple-A Oklahoma City to fill in.
The left-hander is back up in the big leagues for the third time this season with his last outing taking place on May 30 against Baltimore. In that meeting the Delaware native pitched seven strong innings, allowing just a single run on four hits.
Oberholtzer clashed with the Tigers on May 6 in Detroit, coincidentally his last defeat in the majors. The hurler gave up four runs on nine hits and struck out four through six innings that day.
Prior to last night's series opener, Detroit had won three of the four meetings with the Astros on the season.