Detroit Tigers muster just one hit in 5-0 loss to finish sweep by Houston Astros

Detroit Free Press

HOUSTON — Once again, the Detroit Tigers were on the losing end of a baseball game.

It wasn’t even close.

A grand slam from Aledmys Díaz with two outs in the third inning was more than enough for the Houston Astros, as the Tigers lost 5-0 in Sunday’s series finale, swept in four games at Minute Maid Park.

The Tigers (8-19) tallied one hit, three walks and 11 strikeouts on Mother’s Day and dropped their 12th game in 14 tries. Detroit has the worst record in the American League.

“We need to play better,” manager A.J. Hinch said. “We’ve got to try to fix this over the long haul. It’ll start with one game. We have not played a really good, clean game where we’ve come out on top in a while. This was a terrible series. We have not played well consistently.”

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In the Tigers’ bullpen-only game, right-hander Drew Hutchison replaced righty Wily Peralta in the third inning and loaded the bases with one out. Jose Altuve singled to leadoff the frame before Alex Bregman and Yordan Alvarez recorded one-out walks.

Hutchison struck out Kyle Tucker with a sixth-pitch slider for the second out.

Any momentum from Tucker’s strikeout was chewed up by the Astros shortly thereafter, as Diaz hit Hutchison’s second-pitch, 92.4 mph four-seam fastball into the seats in short left-center.

The grand slam put the Astros ahead 4-0.

“Maybe it caught a little too much of the plate,” Hutchison said. “It comes back to having too much traffic. If it’s a solo home run, it’s different. I put us in such a big hole. I just didn’t get the job done.”

The Tigers never answered.

Four Tigers reached safely: Jonathan Schoop in the second inning, Robbie Grossman in the fourth, Miguel Cabrera in the fourth and Javier Báez in the sixth. The lone hit came from Schoop, who doubled to right to snap an 0-for-17 stretch.

Grossman, Cabrera and Báez drew walks.

“We didn’t do enough,” Hinch said. “They drew more walks than hits and had one big swing on a miss-located pitch. Clearly, we’re frustrated. Clearly, it’s the same struggles. It is what is. We got to play better.”

The best scoring opportunity came in the fourth, when a wild pitch from Astros right-hander Jake Odorizzi advanced Grossman and Cabrera into scoring position. But the next two batters — Jeimer Candelario and Schoop — were retired.

The Tigers finished 0-for-3 with runners in scoring position.

“Everywhere you look, there’s talent in the locker room,” catcher Eric Haase said. “It’s just one of those things. Schoop and Candy, they’re going to hit. We need those guys to get hot. … I don’t think anyone’s pressing the panic button. We know it’s a long season, and those guys are going to hit. That’s all they’ve ever done. Trying to lean on that a little bit.”

Odorizzi fired five scoreless innings on one hit, two walks and five strikeouts. Right-hander Cristian Javier, the Astros’ piggyback reliever, tossed three scoreless frames on one walk and five strikeouts.

Righty Héctor Neris slammed the door on the Tigers in the ninth. Tucker, the right fielder, robbed Báez of a home run for the first out.

“At the end of the game, we want to win,” Hinch said. “It’s going to take a collective group effort. It’s not one person. The solution is not just one little click. We got to show up ready to play. We need to prepare them better. Our coaches, we got to send better messages. Our players got to respond a little better in the game. It’s a results-oriented business.”

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Wily’s work

Peralta started the bullpen-only game.

He gave his team two scoreless innings on one hit and three walks with three strikeouts. Three of his walks came in the first, but he avoided damage with a 6-4-3 double play and a strikeout.

The 33-year-old — pitching on his birthday — struck out Tucker on a fourth-pitch 96.7 mph fastball for the third out. He allowed a leadoff single in the second but retired the next three batters in order: ex-Tiger Niko Goodrum (strikeout), Jason Castro (strikeout) and Jose Siri (popout).

Peralta has posted 10⅓ scoreless innings in seven outings this season.

For his 44 pitches (24 strikes), Peralta used 13 four-seam fastballs (30%), 12 sinkers (27%), 11 sliders (25%) and eight splitters (18%). He picked up six swings and misses, including two each with his sinker and splitter, to go with eight called strikes.

Oh, that bullpen

After Peralta, Hutchison entered and gave up the grand slam to Diaz in the third inning. The 31-year-old completed a perfect fourth, including two strikeouts. Across two innings, he allowed four runs on two hits and two walks with four strikeouts.

“They were too careful around the strike zone,” Hinch said of Peralta and Hutchison. “We couldn’t get into the fifth or sixth (with those two pitchers). It was important for us to get through the early part of the game to have a bullpen day, and we didn’t do that.”

In the fifth, Bregman launched a solo home run off right-hander Joe Jimenez for a 5-0 Astros lead. Jimenez finished the sixth with two strikeouts, then the Tigers turned to right-hander Will Vest.

Vest pitched a scoreless sixth and seventh innings.

Right-hander Jacob Barnes tossed the eighth.

Contact Evan Petzold at or follow him on Twitter @EvanPetzoldRead more on the Detroit Tigers and sign up for our Tigers newsletter.

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