video thumbnail

Presley blasts a solo home run to trim deficit

HOUSTON -- A day after celebrating a walk-off home run, the Astros were on the other end of a big homer on Saturday.

One out away from beating Detroit a second straight game, Astros reliever Jerome Williams couldn't hold a one-run lead. Williams, who came in to pitch the ninth inning, gave up a three-run home run to Ian Kinsler that paved the way for the Tigers' 4-3 win at Minute Maid Park.

"Any time you're one out away from a win, it's a tough loss," said Astros manager Bo Porter. "I liked the way we battled. We just came up short."

Porter brought in his closer, Chad Qualls, to face Miguel Cabrera, Victor Martinez and J.D. Martinez in the eighth inning with the Astros holding a 2-1 lead, thanks to a first-inning two-run single from center fielder Alex Presley, who also homered leading off the bottom of the ninth to close out the scoring.

Qualls gave up a two-out double to J.D. Martinez, but did not allow a run.

In the ninth, the Astros weren't as fortunate. Kinsler's 398-foot home run, just to the left of the home run line in left-center, scored pinch-runner Austin Jackson and Eugenio Suarez, who had three of Detroit's 10 hits, to give the Tigers their first lead, 4-2.

Presley's fourth home run of the season, off Joe Nathan, closed the gap but it wasn't enough for the Astros, who got two more hits and two more stolen bases from second baseman Jose Altuve. The Astros also got a great diving catch from left fielder L.J. Hoes to end the seventh inning on a ball hit by Kinsler off Josh Zeid with the bases loaded and the Astros clinging to a 2-1 lead.

Detroit starter Max Scherzer struck out 13 in seven innings. But the Astros were still in line for the win despite Scherzer's domination. The right-hander allowed seven hits.

"He was throwing fastballs 90-95 mph, and then threw a hard slider," said Hoes, who was 0-for-3. "His changeup is a plus pitch and he did a good job throwing fastballs in and out."

But it was Kinsler's 10th home run of the season, on a 2-0 count off Williams (1-4), that was the difference maker.

"With Kinsler, I just wanted to attack and trying to get him to roll over a popup," said Williams, who couldn't protect the lead and give Brett Oberholtzer, who was making a spot start in place of Dallas Keuchel, the win. "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."

Added Detroit manager Brad Ausmus. "I think after that bases-loaded situation, Kinsler wanted to get some payback a little bit."

Houston's loss to start the second half of its season put Hoes' remarkable catch on the back burner. It was a play that saved at least two runs.

"If that ball drops, they score two runs and it could be first and third and you never know what's going to happen," said Hoes. "I'm trying to make a play right there and save the pitcher, get out of the inning and keep the lead."

The momentum was all in Houston's favor after the diving catch by Hoes, who came running in hard to make the play.

"Hoes' catch was a game changer," said Porter. "At that point, you felt good."

Altuve, Marwin Gonzalez and Presley had two hits each for the Astros, who had eight hits, but struck out 15 times. Phil Coke (1-1), who pitched a scoreless eighth inning, got the win and Nathan, despite giving up the homer to Presley, got his 17th save.

Zeid worked lout of a bases-loaded situation in the seventh inning by retiring Rajai Davis and Kinsler.

Presley tied his career high with three RBIs. He received the start in center field for the second straight game because of Dexter Fowler's back tightness. Presley delivered a two-run single in the first inning to open the scoring. Presley's single up the middle off Scherzer scored George Springer and Jon Singleton.

Altuve added to his Major League hit total with his 112th and 113th hits. He led off the Houston third inning with a single, and followed that with his league-leading 33rd stolen base of the season. In the fifth inning, the Astros pulled off a double steal, with Gonzalez taking third and Altuve second. But the pair were stranded when Singleton became Scherzer's 10th strikeout victim.

Altuve became the first player in franchise history to record three straight multi-steal games, and the first to do it in the Major Leagues since B.J. Upton of Tampa Bay in 2009. With stolen bases in five straight games, Altuve tied the franchise record set eight times, most recently by Michael Bourn from Sept. 13-18, 2009.

The Astros won the first game of the three-game series 4-3 on Friday on Jason Castro's walk-off home run in the 11th inning.

Oberholtzer allowed only one run in 6 1/3 innings, giving up five hits.

MLB.com Comments