Tigers Stumble Against Astros, Losing 5-2 at Comerica Park


The Detroit Tigers fell to the Houston Astros on Friday night in a game that saw a promising start unravel in the later innings. The Tigers, now 19-19, couldn’t maintain their early lead and succumbed to the Astros, who improved to 14-24. Despite a strong performance from starting pitcher Casey Mize, the Tigers’ bullpen faltered, allowing Houston to rally and secure a 5-2 victory in front of 21,215 fans at Comerica Park.

Mize’s Strong Start Gives Way to Bullpen Struggles

Casey Mize took the mound for the Tigers, facing off against Astros’ left-hander Framber Valdez. Mize had a shaky start, walking the first two batters, Jose Altuve and Kyle Tucker. However, he managed to settle down, getting Yordan Alvarez to fly out and ending the inning without allowing a run, despite needing 27 pitches to do so.

In the second inning, Mize found his rhythm, giving up a leadoff double to Alex Bregman but retiring the next three batters efficiently. Valdez matched Mize’s performance, keeping the Tigers scoreless despite issuing a walk to Spencer Torkelson.

The third inning saw the Tigers break the deadlock. Jake Rogers and Wenceel Perez led off with singles, setting the stage for Matt Vierling. Vierling delivered, doubling down the third base line and scoring both runners to give the Tigers a 2-0 lead.

Detroit’s lineup struggled to extend their lead, facing a formidable opponent in Astros’ starter Framber Valdez. Manager A.J. Hinch reiterated after the game, “he’s got a ton of movement, he’s got a full array of pitches…he’s a lot to deal with, especially when he’s in and around the strike zone.” Valdez, after navigating through a rocky start, settled down to deliver a commanding performance, striking out several key Tigers’ hitters in critical moments. As the innings progressed, Detroit’s inability to add runs would come back to haunt them.

Detroit’s Offense Falters as Houston’s Rally

Mize continued to pitch effectively through the fourth and fifth innings, keeping the Astros off the scoreboard. However, the sixth inning proved troublesome. Kyle Tucker homered off Mize, cutting the Tigers’ lead to 2-1. Yordan Alvarez followed with a single, but Mize induced a double play and a groundout to minimize the damage.

In the bottom of the sixth, Torkelson’s double was the only highlight as Valdez struck out the other three hitters. Mize handed the game over to the bullpen in the seventh, with Will Vest maintaining the lead through a scoreless inning.

The eighth inning was where the game slipped away. Andrew Chafin, usually reliable, failed to record an out. Altuve singled, Tucker walked, and Alvarez tied the game with a single. Jason Foley replaced Chafin but couldn’t stop the bleeding. Jeremy Pena singled, giving Houston a 3-2 lead. An error by Vierling and a sacrifice fly by Diaz extended the Astros’ lead to 5-2.

In the bottom of the eighth, Riley Greene’s double was wasted as Torkelson and Perez struck out, leaving the Tigers trailing by three runs heading into the ninth.

Ninth Inning Disappointment Seals Tigers’ Fate

Alex Faedo pitched a scoreless top of the ninth, giving the Tigers one last chance to rally. However, Houston closer Josh Hader proved too much for the Tigers. Ryan Vilade struck out after working a 3-0 count. Javy Baez flied out, and Jake Rogers walked, bringing Andy Ibanez to the plate. Ibanez struck out swinging, ending the Tigers’ hopes for a comeback.

Key Performances and Looking Ahead

Casey Mize’s final line was solid: 6 innings, 5 hits, 1 run, 2 walks, and 2 strikeouts. Matt Vierling led the offense with a two-RBI double, but it wasn’t enough to overcome the Astros’ late surge.

Winning pitcher Framber Valdez improved to 2-1, while Andrew Chafin took the loss, falling to 2-1. Josh Hader earned his fifth save of the season.

The Tigers will look to bounce back in the second game of the series on Saturday evening. Left-handed pitcher Tarik Skubal, a Cy Young candidate with a 4-0 record and 1.90 ERA, will face Astros’ right-hander Cristian Javier, who boasts a 2-0 record and a 1.54 ERA. The game is set for 6:10 pm EST, with the Tigers continuing to highlight their City Connect uniforms. The first 15,000 fans will receive City Connect-inspired license plate frames and bumper stickers.

Friday night’s game highlighted the volatility of baseball and the importance of a reliable bullpen. The Tigers will need a strong performance from Skubal and timely hitting to even the series and regain their winning momentum.


For more from our Detroit Tigers and Detroit Lions beat writer, Matt Broder, check him out on Twitter here: @mattbro21

Contact: Broder@woodwardsports.com

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Original Photo Credit: © Rick Osentoski – USA TODAY Sports