HOUSTON (AP) — The Detroit Tigers needed a shot of confidence after a season-opening sweep at Tampa Bay left them 0-3.
They have found it in Houston, winning their first two games against the World Series champion Astros, capped by a 6-3 victory Tuesday night.
“I just like that our guys came in and were able to flush the first series, come and play well against a good team in a tough place to play,” said Detroit manager A.J. Hinch, the former Astros skipper. “We outplayed them for a couple of games to win the series and now we can get greedy tomorrow.”
Spencer Torkelson tied a career high with three hits, highlighted by a two-run homer in the eighth inning to spur Detroit.
The Tigers also won 7-6 in 11 innings Monday.
Torkelson said it was big for the Tigers to put the Tampa Bay series behind them and play well against Houston.
“It shows that we didn’t panic whatsoever,” he said.
Detroit led by one with one out in the eighth when Riley Greene tied a career high with his third hit of the night on a single. Torkelson followed with his soaring shot to center field to make it 5-2.
Matt Manning (1-0) yielded six hits with two walks and two runs in 5 2/3 innings in his season debut.
Houston starter Framber Valdez (0-1) allowed eight hits and three runs — two earned — with nine strikeouts in seven innings.
“It’s a little disheartening when their hitters are getting more home runs than we’re getting,” Astros manager Dusty Baker said. “Right now our right-handed hitters haven’t hit the ball out of the park, it’s only our left-handed hitters. So we know we’re going to get going but we need a big win tomorrow before we go on the road.”
Kyle Tucker homered and had two hits and two RBIs for the Astros, who fell to 2-4.
The score was tied with one out in the sixth when Greene hit an infield single. Torkelson singled before both players advanced on a passed ball by catcher Martín Maldonado. Detroit took a 3-2 lead when Greene scored on a groundout by Eric Haase.
Greene also had a big night on defense, likely robbing Yordan Alvarez of extra bases when he made a diving catch in center field for the first out of the sixth.
Torkelson’s RBI double with two outs in the first gave Detroit a 1-0 lead.
Alex Bregman walked in the bottom of the inning before a one-out single by José Abreu. Tucker then singled to send Bregman home.
There was one out in the third when Matt Vierling walked before advancing to second on a wild pitch. Greene singled with two outs.
Vierling attempted to score on the play, but Alvarez’s throw home was just in time for Maldonado to tag him at the plate to end the inning.
Houston took the lead when Tucker smacked his second homer of the season to the seats in right-center to start the fourth.
Jonathan Schoop singled with no outs in the fifth before another wild pitch by Valdez sent him to second. Jake Rogers singled to score Schoop and tie it at 2.
An RBI double by Vierling drove in a run with two outs in the ninth.
The start of Houston’s series at Minnesota has been postponed from Thursday until Friday because of inclement weather expected in the area. The Astros were supposed to open the series Thursday before continuing it after a day off Friday.
Detroit’s Eduardo Rodriguez (0-1, 5.06 ERA) opposes Cristian Javier (0-0, 5.40) when the series wraps up Wednesday.
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