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Valdez pitches seven strong, Astros use late rally to beat Tigers

Framber Valdez Houston Astros Framber Valdez - The Canadian Press

DETROIT (AP) — Framber Valdez pitched seven strong innings and the Houston Astros used a four-run eighth inning to rally past the Detroit Tigers 5-2 on Friday night.

Kyle Tucker homered and scored twice for Houston, which has won two in a row after a four-game skid.

Valdez (2-1) allowed two runs and six hits, tossing at least seven innings for the first time since his second start of the season on April 2, when he went 7 2/3.

“It had been a long time since I've pitched into the seventh,” he said. “I felt a little bit tired, but it felt good.”

Valdez has a 2.49 ERA in eight career games against the Tigers, including seven starts.

“There's no secret how to beat him,” said Tigers manager A.J. Hinch, who managed Valdez in Houston. “You've got to try to get the ball into the air. We did a couple times early, but he made a ton of pitches."

Detroit (19-19) has lost six of seven and fell to .500 for the first time this season.

Trailing 2-1, Jose Altuve started the eighth with a single off Andrew Chafin (2-1) and Tucker walked before Yordan Alvarez tied it with a single down the right-field line. Jason Foley replaced Chafin, but Jeremy Peña hit an RBI single on his first pitch.

Peña has gone 7 for 11 (.636) in three games since moving into the cleanup spot for the first time.

“I feel like I'm getting a lot of opportunities with people on base,” he said. “I'm just sticking to my approach and trying to get a good at-bat.”

Jon Singleton hit into a force at second, putting runners on the corners, and Alex Bregman’s grounder to third went through Matt Vierling’s legs for an error. Yanier Diaz followed with a sacrifice fly to make it 5-2.

“The eighth showed what this team can do offensively,” Astros manager Joe Espada. “We just didn't try to do too much."

Bryan Abreu pitched the eighth for Houston and Josh Hader earned his fifth save after closing out the ninth.

Tigers starter Casey Mize allowed one run on five hits and didn't walk a batter after the first inning.

Houston had a chance in the first as Mize walked Altuve and Tucker to start the game, but he escaped the inning after Peña took a called third strike on a 3-2 pitch.

“I don't think Casey was at his best, but he was still navigating the game,” Hinch said.

The Tigers took a 2-0 lead in the third after Jake Rogers and Andy Ibáñez led off with singles and scored on Vierling's double.

Tucker led off the sixth with a long homer to right off Mize, his 12th of the season, but Houston didn't get anything else going until the eighth.

The Tigers debuted their blue City Connect jerseys — the first time they had worn anything but white at home since 1995 — and had an organist for the first time in more than 40 years.


The Astros are expected to activate RHP Cristian Javier from the injured list on Saturday. Javier, who missed 18 games with neck soreness, is scheduled to start Saturday's game.


The teams continue the weekend series with Detroit ace LHP Tarik Skubal (4-0, 1.90) scheduled to face Javier (2-0, 1.54).