John Hicks cranked a leadoff home run in the ninth inning, and the visiting Detroit Tigers overcame former ace Justin Verlander’s two-hit complete game with a 2-1 win over the Houston Astros on Wednesday.
Hicks’ blast, his ninth on the season, enabled the Tigers to snap an eight-game losing skid against Houston and a four-game losing streak overall.
Verlander had pitched brilliantly, surrendering just one baserunner through eight innings before Hicks drilled a 1-0 fastball out to left field, snapping a 1-all tie with his 412-foot shot.
Detroit capitalised immediately after poor baserunning decision by Jose Altuve snuffed a scoring opportunity for Houston in the eighth.
With one out and Alex Bregman at the plate, Altuve attempted to go from first to third on a Bregman grounder to shortstop Jordy Mercer. Detroit first baseman Ronny Rodriguez fielded the Mercer throw cleanly and executed a toss to third baseman Dawel Lugo, who applied the tag on the sliding Altuve to complete the inning-ending double play.
The Astros had pulled even in the seventh inning when catcher Robinson Chirinos belted the first pitch of the frame out to left. His 14th homer, which came against Tigers left-hander Tyler Alexander, erased a 1-0 deficit.
But that was the lone blemish in an otherwise sterling combined effort by four Detroit hurlers, with left-hander Daniel Norris delivering three scoreless innings before handing the ball to Alexander, who allowed three hits and one walk with three strikeouts over four innings. Right-hander Buck Farmer (5-4) worked a scoreless eighth before Joe Jimenez closed out the victory thanks in part to more poor baserunning by the Astros.
Chirinos (4-for-4, three extra-base hits) attempted to stretch a two-out double to right-center into a triple, but Harold Castro and Gordon Beckham executed a perfect relay to Lugo, who again applied the tag to end the threat and the game. Verlander (15-5) allowed two runs on two hits with 11 strikeouts. He extended his club record for double-digit strikeout games to seven starts but surrendered two solo homers, with Rodriguez smacking his ninth dinger with two outs in the fifth.
Verlander has been tagged with an American League-high 33 home runs this season.
Cubs overtake Giants three times in 12-11 win
The Chicago Cubs overcame a trio of deficits, clubbed three home runs and tallied 14 hits in a wild 12-11 win over the visiting San Francisco Giants on Wednesday night. Nicholas Castellanos, Kyle Schwarber and Kris Bryant each homered for the Cubs, who won their fourth game in a row. Bryant provided the final turning point with a go-ahead, two-run blast in the eighth inning.
Evan Longoria, Mike Yastrzemski, Stephen Vogt and Kevin Pillar went deep for San Francisco, which has dropped three games in a row.
The Giants erased deficits of 6-2, 7-4 and 10-9 but could not hold on in the seesaw battle.
Chicago trailed 2-0, 9-7 and 11-10 before Bryant capped the night with his 26th homer of the season.
Cubs right-hander Brandon Kintzler (3-2) earned the victory in relief. He and bullpen mate Steve Cishek each pitched a scoreless inning of relief to give Chicago a chance after starter Yu Darvish and reliever Derek Holland combined to allow nine runs (eight earned) in the first six innings.
Craig Kimbrel got the final three outs for the Cubs to garner his 11th save of the season and his second in as many nights. Kimbrel struck out Vogt and Pillar before retiring Brandon Belt on a fly ball to left field to end the game. Giants right-hander Reyes Moronta (3-7) drew the loss after allowing Bryant’s two-run homer. He was one of four pitchers for San Francisco to give up at least one run, including starter Dereck Rodriguez, who was tagged for six runs on six hits in four innings.
Castellanos finished 4-for-5 with a homer and three RBIs to continue his torrid play since joining the Cubsonly minutes before the July 31 trade deadline. He has eight homers in 19 games with Chicago after notching 11 homers in 100 games with the Detroit Tigers this season.
Yastrzemski went 3-for-5 with a double, a homer and two RBIs to lead the Giants at the plate. The rookie outfielder has 17 home runs in 74 games. The high-powered contest included at least two runs in every inning except the fourth and the ninth.
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