HOUSTON -- Jake Marisnick's go-ahead home run in the bottom of the eighth decided a back-and-forth battle that included six homers -- three in one inning off Justin Verlander -- sending the Astros to a 7-6 win over the Tigers Thursday night at Minute Maid Park.The Astros took three of
HOUSTON -- Jake Marisnick's go-ahead home run in the bottom of the eighth decided a back-and-forth battle that included six homers -- three in one inning off Justin Verlander -- sending the Astros to a 7-6 win over the Tigers Thursday night at Minute Maid Park.
The Astros took three of four from the Tigers in the series, improving their Major League-best record to 32-16.
"We talk about series wins all the time," Astros manager A.J. Hinch said. "We played enough winning baseball to win the series, which is all you can ask for out of your team, but we didn't play perfect. We've had a little sluggish stretch here, but hard to be disappointed when you leave the ballpark tonight having won three of four against the Tigers with the potent offense that they have."
The Tigers built a 3-0 lead on a Justin Upton RBI single, a J.D. Martinez tape-measure homer and a Jose Iglesias double, three of 10 hits off Astros starter Mike Fiers. But the Astros answered quickly off Verlander, who gave up three homers in an inning for the second time in his career -- this time in a six-batter stretch of the fourth. Carlos Correa and Marwin Gonzalez hit two-run home runs.
• Cast your Esurance All-Star ballot for Correa, Upton and other #ASGWorthy players
"The fourth inning was the difference in the game," Tigers manager Brad Ausmus said.
Verlander, 4-0 in seven previous starts against Houston, gave up six runs on nine hits over 5 2/3 innings but salvaged a no-decision thanks to a Tigers rally. Upton drew Detroit back within a run with a seventh-inning solo homer, completing a three-hit, three-RBI effort, before Iglesias' second RBI double of the night tied it. More >>
"You hate to lose a lead and then you battle back and ultimately lose the game. It's a little frustrating," Ausmus said. "You feel pretty good about it with Justin on the mound and three runs to start the game, but that's baseball. Nothing's given."
• Astros hit three homers in fourth inning
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Aoki throws out Cabrera at home: Though the Tigers were in command early, they missed a chance for more when Jose Cabrera tested Norichika Aoki's arm in left. Third-base coach Dave Clark waved Cabrera home on Victor Martinez's single, but Aoki threw out Cabrera at home with room to spare for his sixth assist of the season -- tops among Major League outfielders -- and the final out of the first inning.
"It's tough [challenging outfielders] on this field in left field, because it's so short," Ausmus said. "I think Dave Clark, in hindsight, would probably hold Miggy up in that situation."
Mashed by Marisnick: Marisnick entered the game as a pinch-runner for Aoki in the sixth. He stepped to the plate in the eighth against Alex Wilson for his first at-bat of the night. His first swing sent a low, inside fastball from Wilson deep to left-center for his fifth homer of the season.
"It was just a sinker, down and in," Wilson said. "Actually, I thought it was a good pitch, even after looking at the video. He put a 1-in-100 swing on it, and it was the right night for it, and unfortunately it left the ballpark. I thought he hit it really well, but I didn't think it was going to get out of the park, to be honest."
"I didn't pitch great. I let those guys elevate the ball on a night when the ball was flying pretty good. It just stinks when we score that many runs. It would've been nice to come back and win that game. I thought we had a good chance. But it starts and ends with me." -- Verlander
"They got the team going. After that, our pitchers did a great job keeping us in the game and we were able to win the game." -- Correa, on fourth-inning home runs
The Tigers lost their starting catcher in the top of the fourth inning, when James McCann took a Fiers pitch off his left hand and left with a laceration. McCann's hand was bleeding at first base when Ausmus and the team medical staff checked on him. Alex Avila pinch-ran for him and replaced him at catcher.
"It just pinched there enough, the fat of my hand against the bat. For lack of better words, it just exploded," said McCann, who was placed on the 10-day disabled list after the game. More >>
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
In the top of the fourth inning, before the Astros' three-home run barrage later in the same inning, Martinez planted his seventh homer of the season on Minute Maid Park's train tracks 430 feet away from home plate. Including Thursday, Martinez now has three home runs farther than 425 feet since May 16.
With a solo shot in the fourth inning, Juan Centeno became the first player to homer in each of his first two games in an Astros' uniform. Houston catchers have combined to hit 10 home runs this season, which is tied with Detroit and Kansas City for the most among AL teams.
Martinez nearly had a second home run on the night, but his fifth-inning drive to right-center field was ruled a double off the top of the fence. A crew chief review confirmed the ruling after a minute and five seconds. Both Martinez and Miguel Cabrera, who had to stop at third on the double, scored on Justin Upton's single two pitches later.
Tigers: The Tigers' three-city, 10-game road trip continues with a late-night flight to Chicago, where they'll open up a four-game series against the White Sox with a straight doubleheader beginning at 5:10 p.m. ET. Buck Farmer will be called up to make a spot start in the opener, his first start for the Tigers this season. Matthew Boyd is scheduled to pitch the nightcap.
Astros: The Astros' 10-game homestand continues Friday as the Orioles come to Minute Maid Park for a three-game set. Joe Musgrove, who has allowed two runs or fewer in three of his last five starts, gets the nod for Houston to kickoff the series. First pitch is set for 7:10 p.m. CT.
Watch every out-of-market regular-season game live on MLB.TV.
Jason Beck has covered the Tigers for MLB.com since 2002. Read Beck's Blog, follow him on Twitter @beckjason and listen to his podcast.
Christian Boutwell is a reporter for MLB.com based in Houston.