After yesterday's one run loss ended a seven game win streak, the Detroit Tigers (44-33) needed some late game dramatics to get back in the win column against the Houston Astros (35-47) on Saturday evening at Minute Maid Park.
After surrendering two first inning runs, Detroit starter Max Scherzer ( 9-3, 3.64 ERA) buckled down and brought his Cy Young winning repertoire to the hill for the rest of his outing. Scherzer fanned 13 Astros' batters for his first double-digit strikeout start of the 2014 campaign, while allowing two earned runs on seven hits.
The Tigers' bats were silenced for the first four innings by Astros' starter Brett Oberholtzer (2-6, 4.40 ERA), until Eugenio Suarez brought Detroit within a run on an RBI single that scored Torii Hunter.
The 2-1 score line would hold until the top of the ninth, with Detroit down to their final at bats against Houston reliever, Jerome Williams.
Tigers' third-baseman Nick Castellanos led off the ninth with a single to left and was replaced by pinch runner, Austin Jackson. With a runner on first and no outs, Alex Avila entered to pinch hit for Bryan Holaday, but struck out looking.
With Jackson on first, another single (and third hit of the day) from Suarez moved Jackson into scoring position, giving way to Rajai Davis in the batter's box.
Davis attempted to bunt for a hit, but was thrown out on a great fielding play from Williams. However, the Tigers' speedster was able to advance both runners 90 feet.
Down to their final out, Ian Kinsler stretched the count to 2-0 and belted a Williams fastball over the left field wall to give the Tigers a 4-2 edge, their first lead of the game.
The home run for Kinsler was his 10th of the season, and extended his multiple-hit streak to seven games. Over the past seven days, Kinsler has gone 14-27, for a .519 average.
Although Joe Nathan surrendered a lead-off home run in the bottom of the ninth, he was able to shut the door and retire three straight Houston batters to complete the Tigers' comeback win.
Phil Coke (1-1) was credited with the win for the Tigers, while Jerome Williams (1-4) was credited with the loss for Houston after his third blown save of the season. Nathan's late game efforts earned the right-hander his 17th save of the season.