James McCann's walkoff home run lifts Tigers over Astros Thursday
David Price struck out 12 batters in no-decision
DETROIT – David Price struck out a season-high 12 batters Thursday afternoon, but the Tigers blew a 5-0 lead and needed a walkoff home run from James McCann in the bottom of the 11th to win the series opener over the Houston Astros.
Well on his way to his best start of the season, Price carried a one-hit shutout through six innings, striking out 11. But the Astros were ready for him the 3rd time through the lineup and jumped on him in the top of the 7th.
George Springer led off with a single and scored on an Evan Gattis triple to right center field. Price retired the next two Houston batters, but Jonathan Villar reached on an infield single that scored Gattis and moved to 2nd base on an Andrew Romine throwing error.
Hank Conger followed with a single to center to score Villar, ending the night for Price. He left the game with a 5-3 lead after striking out 12 in 6 2/3 innings and allowing two earned runs.
After pitching at least seven innings in 26 of his 34 starts last season, Price has lasted seven innings just three times in nine starts this year.
The Tigers built their lead in the bottom of the 4th, when Nick Castellanos took a Scott Feldman offering 438 feet to left center field for a two-run homer. It was the longest home run recorded at Comerica Park so far this season.
Detroit added two more runs in the 5th on an RBI fielder's choice from Kinsler followed by a single from Cabrera that gave the Tigers a 4-0 lead. They added another in the 6th with an RBI double from Rajai Davis.
After scoring three off of Price in the 7th, the Astros pulled even closer in the 8th. Springer ripped a double down the right field line off of Joba Chamberlain to score Valbuena. The run was charged to Blaine Hardy, who surrendered the one-out single to Valbuena.
Yoenis Cespedes led off the bottom of the 8th with a double and moved to 3rd base on a wild pitch. But the Tigers failed to hit the ball out of the infield and stranded the insurance run at 3rd.
That would loom large in the 9th, as a pinch-hit home run from Preston Tucker tied the game at 5-5. The blast came off of closer Joakim Soria, who took his first blown save of the season.
Alex Wilson came on for the top of the 10th after the Tigers failed to walk off in the 9th inning. He carved through the top three in Houston's order, capped by a strikeout of Springer.
Wilson stayed in for the 11th inning and stranded a two-out ground-rule double from Colby Rasmus to record another scoreless frame.
McCann led off the bottom of the 11th by falling way behind Houston reliever Tony Sipp, who had just entered the game. But he stayed back on an 0-2 changeup and blasted it into the bullpen in left field to send the Tigers home with a win.
It was McCann's first career home run that actually cleared the outfield fence. His first official home run came on April 29 in Minnesota, when he hit an inside-the-park homer to center field.
McCann's blast also gave Wilson his first win as a Tiger since coming over in the Cespedes-Rick Porcello trade with Boston. He's emerged as one of the team's top relief options, allowing just four hits and no runs in 10.2 innings this month.
Though Price settled for a no-decision, the team improved to 8-1 overall in games started by its ace.
With the win, the Tigers clawed to within two games of the first-place Kansas City Royals. Their series with the Astros will continue Friday night, as Alfredo Simon battles Collin McHugh.
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