Astros Rock Verlander, Take Series From Tigers

Different heroes delivering on different nights, is a theme that has permeated the Houston Astros first two months of the season. Thursday Jake Marisnick took his turn, delivering a tie-breaking home run in the 8th inning helping the Stros defeat Detroit 7-6 at Minute Maid Park and win the series three games to one.

Five Astros pitchers were able to work around 14 Detroit hits including a pair of home runs to outlast the Tigers. The Astros (32-16) continue to have the best record in baseball.

“We talk about series wins all the time,” said manager A.J. Hinch. “We played enough winning baseball to win the series which is all you ask out of your team. We didn’t play perfect. We have had a little sluggish stretch here but it’s hard to be disappointed when you leave the ballpark having won three of four against the Tigers with the potent offense they have and the good starters.”

Detroit ace Justin Verlander cruised into the bottom of the fourth Thursday night with a 3-0 lead and a low pitch count. That is when the Houston bats exploded, to the tune of five runs with three homers, propelling the Astros to a 6-5 victory and a series win (3-1) over the Tigers.

Carlos Correa started the parade with a two-run line drive shot to the Crawford Boxes. Evan Gattis followed with a bloop single to center before Marwin Gonzalez hit a towering shot to the right field seats, his 11th of the season, providing the Astros a 4-3 lead. Catcher Juan Centeno added a solo shot to cap the frame.

After building a 6-4 lead, the Tigers climbed back into the game when Justin Upton homered off Will Harris in the 7th and Luke Gregerson allowed a run in the 8th.

Marisnick crushed his homer in the bottom of the frame in his first bat of the night after pinch running for Nori Aoki and staying in the game to play center field.

“Definitely got a chance to make the most of it,” Marisnick said about his contributions over three plus innings of work. “That was a fun game. We stayed in the whole way and they got up on us early and to come back and grind through that and find a way to get a win was huge.”

Ken Giles threw a scoreless ninth to earn his 13th save of the season.

The Astros are 3-4 on the 10-game home stand. Joe Musgrove (3-4 5.63) will start the first of three against Baltimore Friday night at Minute Maid in a 7:10 p.m. start. Dallas Keuchel is scheduled to start on Saturday and Lance McCullers Jr. on Sunday.

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