Detroit Tigers (44-33) at Houston Astros (35-47), 2:10 p.m. (ET)

 

The Sports Network

(SportsNetwork.com) - A little over halfway through the 2014 campaign, already the Houston Astros find themselves in the deepest hole of any team in the majors, yet they are still settling in for a battle against visiting Detroit at Minute Maid Park this afternoon.

Houston appeared to be heading toward a potential three-game win streak on Saturday, but the team surrendered three runs in the top of the ninth and came up short in the bottom of the frame, suffering the 4-3 defeat at home.

With the setback, Houston is not only 12 games under .500, it is also 16 games out of contention in the AL West.

Alex Presley led off the ninth for the Astros with a home run to right, but the following three batters made it easy for a Detroit squad that is now 4 1/2 games ahead of Kansas City for first place in the American League Central standings.

Putting the Tigers on top late in Saturday's meeting was Ian Kinsler, who connected on a three-run home run to left-center, scoring Austin Jackson and Eugenio Suarez. Kinsler finished with two hits, as did Bryan Holaday, while Suarez logged three hits to raise his average to an even .300. Kinsler is now the first Tigers player since 1960 to register seven straight multi-hit games.

"Sometimes the heart of the lineup's going to scuffle," Tigers manager Brad Ausmus said. "We need other guys to step up. Kinsler provided, obviously, the big boost offensively. We had our chances, we couldn't capitalize off [Astros starter Brett] Oberholtzer, but luckily we got a couple baserunners in the ninth and Kinsler came up large."

Relievers Phil Coke and Joe Nathan posted the win and save, respectively, for the visitors after starter Max Scherzer lasted seven full innings, allowing two runs on seven hits and striking out 13.

Coming out on the losing end for the Astros was Jerome Williams, the fourth pitcher of the game for the hosts. He was the one who surrendered the long ball to Kinsler before closing out the ninth.

"With Kinsler, I just wanted to attack and trying to get him to roll over a popup," said Williams. "A cutter was up and he hit it out.

"I can't blame nobody but myself. I can't dwell on that. I had the opportunity to go out there and save the game. I take full responsibility for it."

Starter Brett Oberholtzer, who was called up from Triple-A Oklahoma City prior to the game to start in place of eight-game winner Dallas Keuchel, who has inflammation in his left wrist, allowed one run on five hits and two walks over 6 1/3 innings.

Presley, Marwin Gonzalez and Jose Altuve each had two hits for the hosts, but it was the former who drove in all three runs.

Left-hander Drew Smyly is heading to the hill for the Tigers this afternoon, hoping to put together back-to-back wins. The Arkansas product managed to snap a two-game slide on Tuesday against Texas, but it was just his second victory overall since the first week of May.

Against the Rangers, Smyly gave up just a single run on five hits and a walk, fanning five in six innings of action.

One of the six defeats for Smyly in 2014 came versus this same Houston squad back on May 8 when he permitted three runs on five hits and three bases-on- balls in 5 1/3 innings. For his career, Smyly is 1-1 with a 3.38 ERA in three games against the Astros.

Now on with his fourth team in the last three seasons, Scott Feldman is slated to take on the Detroit batters as the right-hander seeks his first victory in more than month. The Hawaii native has just one victory in his last 10 outings, that coming against Kansas City on the road on May 26.

More recently, Feldman lasted six innings against Atlanta at home, giving up three runs on four hits, two of those being home runs, while striking out five in the setback.

Feldman has gone up against Detroit 11 times in his career, making five starts, but he has a record of 0-3 and an 8.16 ERA to show for his efforts.

Detroit, which easily won the 2013 season series with the Astros by a count of 6-1, is now ahead this time around with four wins in six chances.

Read more Baseball Wires stories from the Miami Herald

  • Houston's Springer won't play again this season

    Houston rookie George Springer, who has been out since July 20 with a left quadriceps injury, won't play again this season.

  •  
Colorado Rockies relief pitcher Tommy Kahnle, foreground, ducks out of the way of third baseman Nolan Arenado who throws to first base to make an out against St. Louis Cardinals' Jhonny Peralta to end the fifth inning of a baseball game Saturday, Sept. 13, 2014, in St. Louis.

    Arenado out with bruised chest, pneumonia

    Colorado Rockies third baseman Nolan Arenado will be sidelined indefinitely because of a bruised chest and pneumonia.

  • Tanaka slated to return Sunday

    New York Yankees manager Joe Girardi told reporters Tuesday that Masahiro Tanaka is tentatively slated to make his first major league start in more than two months Sunday against the Toronto Blue Jays.

Join the
Discussion

The Miami Herald is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere on the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

The Miami Herald uses Facebook's commenting system. You need to log in with a Facebook account in order to comment. If you have questions about commenting with your Facebook account, click here.

Have a news tip? You can send it anonymously. Click here to send us your tip - or - consider joining the Public Insight Network and become a source for The Miami Herald and el Nuevo Herald.

Hide Comments

This affects comments on all stories.

Cancel OK

  • Marketplace

Today's Circulars

  • Quick Job Search

Enter Keyword(s) Enter City Select a State Select a Category