Astros battle falls short in 14-inning marathon

Houston drills two homers, but 'pen loses lead before loss in extras

Astros battle falls short in 14-inning marathon

HOUSTON -- The Astros brought up two pitchers on Thursday from Triple-A Oklahoma City. They wasted little time in making contributions.

However, the combined 9 1/3 innings the two pitched still wasn't enough because Detroit broke through for four runs in the 14th inning to end a 4-hour, 50-minute marathon (fourth-longest in Minute Maid Park history) and take a 7-3 win Thursday over the Astros, spoiling the first of a 10-game homestand that includes three more with the Tigers.

Right-hander Jordan Lyles was one of those called up on Thursday and the Astros' starter worked five strong innings, scattering six hits while striking out six and yielding just one walk and two runs.

"He came here, did a great job, and I wanted to get him out of the game in the positive," said Porter of his move to lift Lyles. "I wasn't going to put him in a position to get a no-decision or a loss. So what's the use of putting him out there for another inning.

"He pitched well enough to win the game. He attacked with his fastball and that's a credit to him."

Lyles said he could have gone longer.

"I had no idea I was coming out after the fifth," Lyles said. "Bo met me at the steps and said I was done. I felt good enough to go another inning or two or three."

Lyles said he felt he met his goal of establishing his fastball.

"I thought I did a pretty good job of staying with that and keep attacking," he said. "I left some balls up, but it was a pretty decent outing overall. Hopefully I'll get some more innings next time."

He could have been the winning pitcher. He left with a 3-2 lead thanks to a first-inning, two-run homer from Jason Castro and a fourth-inning solo blast by Carlos Pena.

But an eighth-inning error allowed the Tigers to tie the game at 3, and it stayed that way until the 14th inning.

Wesley Wright plunked Prince Fielder with two outs in the eighth. The Tigers' first baseman made it all the way around the bases when right fielder Rick Ankiel, a defensive replacement in the sixth inning, booted Victor Martinez's single.

Ankiel atoned for his blunder, nailing Matt Tuiasosopo at the plate on Brayan Pena's pinch-hit single to end the Tigers' 11th inning.

"You've got to send [the runner]," Tigers manager Jim Leyland said. "Ankiel's got a great arm and made a great throw. It's a no-brainer [to send him]."

Dallas Keuchel was the other pitcher Houston called up on Thursday. The lefty entered the game in the 10th inning and pitched scoreless relief through the 13th before the Tigers finally broke through in the 14th inning.

"I felt good," Keuchel said. "You go so far and come up short, it's pretty disheartening and pretty disappointing. Hats off to their lineup for just keep getting after me.

"I want to be the guy that finishes the game in that situation. I told [pitching coach Doug Brocail] that I'm going however many innings he needed me to go. I was willing to go 10 innings."

He went 4 1/3 innings and was tagged with the loss, giving up seven hits and four runs. He walked four, two intentionally, and struck out four.

Detroit pitching set an AL record on Wednesday with its sixth consecutive game of at least 10 strikeouts. Houston hitters came into Thursday's series opener averaging just-under 10 strikeouts per game, 276 total, the most in the Major Leagues.

The WhiffFest took place as advertised, but not exactly as scripted.

While Detroit did extend that streak, with 18 strikeouts, it was eight Astros pitchers that combined to equal that number with 18 strikeouts of their own, the most for Houston since a July 8, 2008, 16-inning game in Atlanta.

The Tigers extended their record streak to seven games when Jose Altuve struck out in the ninth inning. They'll look to tie the Major League record on Friday of eight consecutive games, set last season by the Milwaukee Brewers.

Glenn Sattell is a contributor to This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.