Alex Bregman reached base three times while Josh Reddick and Evan Gattis recorded back-to-back home runs as the Houston Astros pounded out a 9-1 victory over the visiting Detroit Tigers on Saturday at Minute Maid Park.
The Astros struck early and often against Tigers right-hander Michael Fulmer (3-9), whose struggles continued unabated. Fulmer surrendered season highs in hits (10) and earned runs (seven) in extending his personal losing skid to four decisions over five starts. Fulmer has recorded only one victory over his last nine outings.
Detroit has lost 14 of 16 road games.
Bregman (1-for-2, two walks) walked and scored on a Yuli Gurriel sacrifice fly in the first inning just ahead of Jose Altuve, who singled and scored when Reddick followed Gurriel with a double.
Fulmer allowed a run-scoring double to George Springer in the second inning before Bregman added an RBI single that plated catcher Tim Federowicz and stretched the Houston lead to 4-0.
It wasn’t until the fourth inning that Fulmer posted a scoreless frame. The Tigers trailed 5-0 by that juncture after Marwin Gonzalez drove home Gurriel with a two-out single in the third.
With two outs in the fifth, Fulmer saw his day come to an end after Reddick and Gattis homered in succession. Reddick belted his ninth home run to right field, Gattis his 19th to left. Fulmer issued a pair of walks and posted two strikeouts over 4 2/3 innings.
The Tigers produced competitive at-bats against Astros right-hander Gerrit Cole, recording 28 foul balls —18 off his four-seam fastball — while extending Cole to 100-plus pitches early in the sixth inning. But Cole carried a shutout into that frame and didn’t lose his bid until Detroit catcher James McCann roped a two-out double by Bregman at third base and into the left field corner, scoring Nick Castellanos from first base and cutting the Houston lead to 7-1.
Cole (10-2) departed after the McCann base hit, marking just the second time in 20 starts that he was lifted mid-inning. He allowed one run on three hits and four walks and posted eight strikeouts over 5 2/3 innings, joining fellow starters Charlie Morton and Lance McCullers Jr. with double-digit victories. Right-hander Justin Verlander can join that trio with a win in the finale of the series Sunday.
—Field Level Media