DETROIT -- It didn’t matter that the Astros already had a comfortable lead -- if the opportunity arises to add to the score, someone on this team is going to try to take it.
Such was the case at Comerica Park on Monday night, when the American League-leading Astros (27-15) put three runs across in the ninth inning to secure an 8-1 win against the Tigers in the opener of a three-game series, capped off by four home runs, each hit by a different player.
“I think that the team mentality -- don’t quit and pass the baton onto the next guy -- is absolutely huge,” said George Springer, co-AL Player of the Week, who followed up Sunday’s 5-for-5 showing with a 2-for-5 outing at the plate. “It’s a testament to the guys on this team. Just to go out and try to win every single day no matter what happens.”
Springer hit two singles with an RBI and a run scored -- chipping in with two standout defensive plays in the outfield -- as the Astros racked up 11 hits. Tigers starter Matthew Boyd (4-3) was tagged for three runs over four innings and allowed five hits and two walks on 96 pitches. The left-hander retired the first five batters faced before running into trouble during a three-run third, in which Aledmys Díaz and Robinson Chirinos both hit home runs.
Springer’s run-scoring single came in the ninth, which began with outfielder Jake Marisnick getting hit by a pitch on the elbow by Tigers reliever Reed Garrett. Marisnick, however, shook it off and stole second and made it home on Springer’s knock up the middle. Springer was eventually brought home on Alex Bregman 13th home run of the season, putting the exclamation point on a big offensive night.
“We made him really work,” manager A.J. Hinch said of Boyd. “I look up in the third inning and he’s at 70 pitches. He got into the upper 90s after four. So, we can do that to some pitching when we lock in the strike zone. We had a lot of foul balls, so we were fighting a lot of different at-bats. A few walks of our own, then some damage.”
Diaz opened scoring in the second inning with his fourth home run of the season. The second baseman, filling in for injured starter José Altuve (left hamstring strain), pulled a full-count fastball from Boyd 424 feet into the left-field stands. Two batters later, after Boyd walked Tyler White, Chirinos hit a two-run homer over the wall in right-center, also off a fastball, to make it 3-0.
The win marks six in a row and nine of the last 10 for Houston, while the Tigers (18-21) continue to search for offensive consistency.
“We’ve got a pretty good team,” said Diaz, who finished 2-for-4. “Everyone tried to have good at-bats. It’s not about hitting homers, it’s about getting walks, getting to first and trying to score and give our teammates a chance to get an RBI every time.”
Astros starter Brad Peacock (4-2) allowed one run, three hits and three strikeouts through five innings, but gave up a season-high four walks -- following up a career-best tally of 12 strikeouts in seven scoreless innings against the Royals last time out.
“I didn’t have my best stuff, but I grinded through it, had some great plays by the guys and they swung it today,” Peacock said. “That’s all you can ask for.
“I was happy to get through five today. I know it could have been a lot worse.”
After allowing back-to-back baserunners to reach in the bottom of the second, Peacock escaped a jam with runners at second and third by striking out center fielder JaCoby Jones on three pitches. In his troubled fourth, Peacock allowed his first run since May 2 in a 25-pitch inning. He surrendered back-to-back hits to Jeimer Candelario and Josh Harrison before Candelario scored on a sacrifice fly from Grayson Greiner.
Though Peacock rebounded with a nine-pitch fifth, manager Hinch opted for the bullpen after 88 pitches.
“It was nice to see him get through his outing,” Hinch said. “He was a little erratic, but he found ways to get outs when he needed to.”