HOUSTON -- Jose Altuve laced Alex Wilson's first pitch for a walk-off ninth-inning single to give the Astros a 6-5 win over Detroit on Sunday and clinch the series.
Altuve drove in Jake Marisnick, who just missed a walk-off home run off Tom Gorzelanny but settled for a two-out triple to bring up Altuve. Wilson, working in his third consecutive game, hung a cutter, which Altuve deposited into the left-center-field gap.
"In that situation you try to hit one ball hard," Altuve said. "It doesn't matter if it's a fly ball or a ground ball. ... That's what I was looking to [do], swing the bat hard."
Trailing 5-2 in the seventh, Miguel Cabrera pulled the Tigers within one with a homer off Astros reliever Chad Qualls before Detroit manufactured a run in the eighth to tie the game. Astros third baseman Marwin Gonzalez's throwing error allowed J.D. Martinez to reach second with no outs on a slow grounder. He would score on Tyler Collins' single.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED Cabrera becomes Venezuelan RBI king: Two days after Cabrera looked to be off with his timing at the plate in his return from the disabled list, the Tigers slugger had Astros pitchers timed fairly well. Cabrera turned on a Mike Fiers pitch and lined it off the left-field wall for an RBI double in the opening inning, then powered the Tigers with an opposite-field two-run homer in the seventh. The three-RBI performance pushed Cabrera past Andres Galarraga for the career lead among Venezuelan-born Major Leaguers with 1,426. More >
Double Colby jack:Colby Rasmus, the only true lefty in Houston's Sunday lineup, took Detroit southpaw Matt Boyd deep on the second pitch of the second inning -- an inning where Houston would send eight hitters to the plate and add a two-RBI triple from Gonzalez and an RBI single from Carlos Correa. Rasmus followed with a home run in the third for his fifth career multi-homer game. They were his third and fourth homers off a lefty this season, giving him four in his last four games. More >
"It's hard to put a finger on one thing, it's just one of them things," Rasmus said of his success off the lefty. "He just threw it and it looked good and my swing was there today to do what it did. Very thankful for that ... I felt good today going into the game and my plan worked with what I was trying to do. My approach, I tried to stay with it, and it helped me stay on those fastballs."
Defenseless to Detroit: Houston allowed three unearned runs, including the first two of the game after Cabrera's double plated Jose Iglesias, who had reached when first baseman Chris Carter couldn't handle Gonzalez's throw on a grounder. Gonzalez was the culprit in the eighth, throwing wildly as Martinez legged out a slow roller. Martinez, who looked as though he would beat the throw even if it was on line, went to second and scored on Collins' single through the right side to tie the game.
"That was disappointing because it's uncharacteristic for us to give 90 feet away," said Astros manager A.J. Hinch. "We're a good defensive club and that type of free pass to the opponent is rare for us and it burned us today. Luckily we didn't hang our heads. We hung in there and found a way to get back in the game."
Preston Tucker must sit: Hours after Tucker hit his third game-tying home run off Tigers pitching this year, the Astros' rookie outfielder was still in Brad Ausmus' head as the Tigers manager mapped out the ninth inning of a tie game. Ausmus stuck with lefty Gorzelanny against the bottom third of Houston's order, with two right-handed hitters and a switch-hitter due up, to keep the left-handed-hitting Tucker on the bench. Gorzelanny was a strike from getting through the ninth before Marisnick tripled, at which point Ausmus brought in Wilson to face Altuve rather than walk him and potentially bring up Tucker, a .272 hitter with 12 homers in 191 at-bats off righties this year.
"You have to pick your poison there," Ausmus said. "We were trying to pitch [Altuve] carefully."
"I think if the Texans see that, [they're] going to put him out there." -- Altuve, on the tackle Correa put on him during the walk-off celebration
"I can play two sports. I don't mind that. I don't think the Astros would be really happy with that. I actually played football in Puerto Rico but it's not big in Puerto Rico. But I just did it for fun. But if the Texans offered me something, I would like to try out." -- Correa, on a possible foray into football
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Qualls became the 281st Major League pitcher to give up a Cabrera home run, 10 years after their first matchup. A 26-year-old Qualls faced a 22-year-old Cabrera on May 9, 2005, and gave up a sacrifice fly, the first of 11 meetings between the two. Qualls also became the second pitcher with a last name beginning with the letter Q to give up a home run to Cabrera, joining Jose Quintana.
Hinch won a managerial challenge in the first inning after home-plate umpire Doug Eddings ruled Mike Fiers hit Iglesias -- the second batter of the game -- with a 1-2 pitch. Replays showed the ball hit the bat, not Iglesias, and he returned to the plate. Iglesias reached on an error two pitches later and scored the game's first run on Cabrera's double.
EARLY EXIT Ian Kinsler was ejected in the top of the seventh inning after arguing a called third strike to Iglesias with a runner on third. Eddings let Iglesias put up a lengthy argument on Qualls' 2-2 pitch at the knees but was less inclined to listen to Kinsler yelling from the dugout. Andrew Romine replaced Kinsler at second base.
WHAT'S NEXT Tigers: After an off-day in Chicago, Anibal Sanchez (10-10. 4.95 ERA) will try to break his four-game winless skid when he takes the mound against the Cubs on Tuesday night at 8:05 ET at Wrigley Field. Sanchez is tied for the Major League lead with 28 home runs allowed this season.
Astros:Scott Kazmir will take the mound for the opener of a four-game set with the Rays on Monday night at 7:10 CT at Minute Maid Park. Kazmir lost a pitchers' duel with Madison Bumgarner in his last start, though he committed two errors that didn't help his cause. His 2.08 ERA is second in the American League, and he owns a 1.04 mark in four starts with Houston.
Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. Read Beck's Blog, follow him on Twitter @beckjason and listen to his podcast. Chandler Rome is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.