Keuchel's 14th win helps Astros to 5-1 win over Detroit
HOUSTON (AP) After a difficult road trip, the Houston Astros were happy to get back home and return to their winning ways.
Dallas Keuchel struck out eight in seven solid innings and Jed Lowrie powered the offense with a two-RBI double to lead the Astros to a 5-1 win over the Detroit Tigers on Friday night.
The Astros trailed entering the fifth inning before scoring three runs, capped Lowrie's double to take a 3-1 lead.
It was the opener of a 10-game homestand for Houston, which is 2 1/2 games ahead of the Angels for first place in the American League-West despite going 2-7 on a recent road trip.
Houston is 39-18 at home and just 24-35 on the road.
''If we knew how to play more complete on the road we would,'' Keuchel said. ''It's just one of those things where we play better at home right now. We're going to have to figure it out before too long, but it's nice to be back home with the support of the fans and the city.''
Keuchel (14-6) yielded six hits and one run to improve to 11-0 at home this season. His 14 wins overall are tied for most in the AL.
''All in all, Dallas was in complete control virtually all night,'' manager A.J. Hinch said.
Alfredo Simon (10-7) allowed six hits and four runs in five-plus innings for the loss.
Detroit slugger Miguel Cabrera returned from six weeks on the disabled list with a calf strain and went 0 for 3 with two strikeouts and a walk. Cabrera, who was on the DL for the first time in his 13-year career, did not play any rehabilitation games to prepare for his return.
''His timing is obviously not perfect,'' Detroit manager Brad Ausmus said. ''His last at bat he hit the ball hard, but that's to be expected.''
The Astros added a run on a sacrifice bunt by Marwin Gonzalez in the sixth and Chris Carter doubled in another one in the eighth.
Keuchel bounced back after tying a season-high with 10 hits in a loss to Oakland last week. He had retired nine of the first 10 batters before Ian Kinsler singled to start the fourth inning. Keuchel then walked Cabrera on four pitches and the Tigers took a 1-0 lead on the groundball RBI single by Victor Martinez.
The Tigers threatened in the fifth inning when a broken-bat double by Jose Iglesias followed by a single from Anthony Gose left runners at first and third with one out in the inning. But Keuchel escaped the jam by striking out Rajai Davis before Kinsler grounded out.
The Astros tied it at 1-all on a groundout by Jose Altuve in the fifth inning. Rookie Carlos Correa walked with two outs and stole second base before Lowrie's double that scored two.
Houston's Carlos Gomez had a difficult night, going 0 for 4 with two strikeouts. His frustration boiled over in the eighth inning after his second strikeout when he slammed his bat across his thigh three times before cracking it in half.
''It's just one of those things that you get frustrated when you have the pitch and you miss it,'' he said. ''So it's something that you have to stop.''
Tigers: LHP Kyle Lobstein (sore left shoulder) will continue his rehabilitation assignment at Triple-A Toledo. He made two starts at Single-A Lakeland where he was 0-1 with a 3.52 ERA. He has been out since May 24.
Astros: OF George Springer (broken right wrist) was cleared to resume baseball activities on Friday, but the Astros still aren't sure when he'll come off the disabled list. Springer, who's hasn't played since July 1, said it's been difficult to sit out for so long and that's he's anxious to take the next step in his recovery. He'll be able to throw and catch, but manager A.J. Hinch said he's not quite ready to swing a bat yet.
TRIPLES, TRIPLES AND MORE TRIPLES
Evan Gattis tripled with no outs in the sixth inning to chase Simon. The burly 230-pound Gattis is second in the majors with nine triples this season after he hit just one in his first two seasons combined.
''He's not fast. Let's be honest,'' Hinch said. ''He just has a lot of triples. It's starting to become a life of its own. It's a triple watch every day.''
Detroit's Justin Verlander (1-5, 4.57) looks to end a two-game skid when he opposes Collin McHugh (13-6, 4.22) when the series continues on Saturday. McHugh is tied for second in the AL with 13 wins, but is coming off of a loss at Oakland.