EditorsNote: Deletes "lead" in 4th graf
Yuli Gurriel had a two-run double as part of a four-run first inning and the Houston Astros then used some gritty bullpen work to fend off the visiting Detroit Tigers 5-4 on Monday in the opener of a four-game series.
Robinson Chirinos' sacrifice fly in the fifth inning was the difference for the Astros.
Gurriel drove home Alex Bregman and Yordan Alvarez with his double to straightaway center field and later scored on a fielding error by Tigers left fielder Brandon Dixon to cap the Astros' early four-run outburst.
Houston then stalled offensively, scratching across a run in the fifth when Chirinos drove home Jose Altuve with his fly ball to center. Houston extended its lead to 5-2 before holding tight down the stretch, with relievers Hector Rondon, Will Harris and Roberto Osuna putting together the final 10 outs.
Detroit proved to be feisty, getting a solo home run from second baseman Ronny Rodriguez in the sixth inning that cut the deficit to 5-3. Astros left-hander Wade Miley appeared to have found his footing after a rocky first few innings, working around two infield hits in the fourth inning to strike out the side, then retiring six consecutive batters prior to the Rodriguez homer.
Rondon stranded a pair of base runners in support of Miley in the sixth but surrendered a leadoff home run to Tigers right fielder Travis Demeritte in the seventh. Rondon allowed one additional batter to reach before getting out of the seventh.
Harris worked his way out of the eighth despite Jordy Mercer and Victor Reyes reaching in succession with two outs. Osuna earned his 28th save by working around a one-out double by Dixon. Detroit went 1-for-8 with runners in scoring position.
Miley (12-4) allowed three runs on a season-high 10 hits. He did not issue a walk and recorded eight strikeouts over 5 2/3 innings to run his winning streak to six over his last 11 starts.
Right-hander Edwin Jackson (3-6) was left with his first loss with the Tigers, working five innings and surrendering five runs (four earned) on seven hits and four walks with six strikeouts. Detroit is 0-4 against the Astros this season and has dropped nine of the last 10 games to Houston overall.
The Astros lost shortstop Carlos Correa to back discomfort following his at-bat in the first inning.
--Field Level Media