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Kinsler's HR in 9th lifts Tigers past Astros

Jun 29, 2014 - 4:02 AM Houston, TX ( - Ian Kinsler smacked a go-ahead three-run homer in the top of the ninth inning as the Detroit Tigers topped the Houston Astros, 4-3, in the middle test of a three-game set.

With Detroit trailing 2-1, Nick Castellanos singled against Jerome Williams (1-4) to begin the ninth and was replaced by pinch-runner Austin Jackson. After pinch-hitter Alex Avila struck out, Eugenio Suarez singled and Rajai Davis' bunt moved both runners into scoring position. Kinsler then whacked his three-run shot off the facade in left-center.

"Can't blame nobody but myself, I didn't execute pitches," Williams said.

Phil Coke (1-1) tossed a scoreless eighth to get the win. Joe Nathan allowed a leadoff homer to Alex Presley in the bottom of the ninth before recording the final three outs in succession to pick up his 17th save of the season.

Tigers starter Max Scherzer settled down after allowing both of his runs in the first. He struck out 13 and surrendered seven hits while walking one in a no-decision for the Tigers, who have won eight of their last nine.

"He pitched well," Detroit manager Brad Ausmus said of Scherzer. "He gave up the couple of runs in the first inning, went seven strong and had a bunch of strikeouts."

Brett Oberholtzer was called up from Triple-A Oklahoma City prior to the game to start in place of eight-game winner Dallas Keuchel, who has inflammation in his left wrist. Oberholtzer yielded a run on five hits and two walks over 6 1/3 innings for Houston.

George Springer hit a one-out single and Jonathan Singleton followed with a base hit to move Springer to third in the first. Singleton advanced to second on the throw to third. After Jason Castro struck out, Presley lined a single to center to plate Springer and Singleton for a 2-0 lead.

The Tigers squandered Kinsler's one-out double in the first and didn't threaten again until pushing across a run in the fifth.

Torii Hunter led off the frame with a single and Bryan Holaday singled two batters later to put runners on first and second. Suarez then looped a base hit into right to plate Hunter and move Holaday to third with one out, but he was stranded there as Davis popped out and Kinsler flied out to end the inning.

Singleton struck out with two outs and runners on second and third in the home half and Detroit left the bases loaded in the seventh.

Davis grounded into a force out at home with the bags full and one out and L.J. Hoes made a fantastic diving snag on Kinsler's bloop into left to end the threat.

J.D. Martinez ripped a two-out double in the eighth, but Chad Qualls got Hunter to ground out and keep Houston in front.

Game Notes

The Tigers were 3-for-10 with runners in scoring position, while Houston finished 1-for-5 ... Keuchel's 2.78 ERA is currently the seventh best in the American League.