Tigers set franchise record with 21st shutout, fall 7-0 to Astros at home

Detroit News

Detroit — The Detroit Tigers have played 21 innings of baseball since they last scored a run, which makes it fitting that on Monday night at Comerica Park the team grabbed its 21st shutout loss of the season — a new franchise record.

Kicking off the season’s penultimate homestand, Detroit was blanked at Comerica Park by the Houston Astros, 7-0, on Monday night, as the opposing pitcher made a good kind of history.

Detroit’s previous franchise record for shutout losses was set in 1975.

Astros starter Framber Valdez pitched his second complete game of the season and struck out eight while walking one to earn his 24th consecutive quality start, which ties an MLB record set by Mets pitcher Jacob deGrom in 2018.

“I think we had opportunities early when he was wobbling a little bit, and then once he settled in, he was in total command,” Tigers manager AJ Hinch said. “So, he’s got really good stuff. I know he’s on a long streak of pitching well. He’s got a ton of confidence and they play with a lead very, very well.”

The Tigers had six hits — all of them singles besides a Willi Castro double in the third — but couldn’t scrape a runner across. Two runners were thrown out at home plate and five were left on base.

“However it is, (we need to be) just trying to manufacture as many runs as you can,” Tigers catcher Eric Haase said. “It doesn’t seem like a lot until you’re starting to do that once or twice a game, now you got a swing of the bat right there for awhile, rather than trying to put up five.”

Shortstop Jeremy Pena was 3-for-5 with an RBI, Kyle Tucker had three RBI and Alex Bregman and Yuli Gurriel each drove home runs for Houston (91-50). The Astros had 13 hits, 11 of them singles.

Right-hander Eduardo Rodriguez went five innings for the Tigers (54-87), giving up 10 hits, five runs, five earned, two walks and striking out two. Haase had a two-hit game.

“I was trying to look at everything the way that I wanted. The cutter was looking good today, they just make a good swing on it, and have a base hit, you know?” Rodriguez said.

“That’s something you’ve always gotta have in your mind. You execute the pitch, and the result is what will happen. Sometimes you throw a nasty pitch, the best pitch that you have, and they make a good swing on it and they hit it out of the ballpark.”

Jason Foley (one inning) and Garrett Hill (two) combined for three innings of one-hit, scoreless relief for the Tigers. Will Vest was tagged for two more runs in the ninth.

BOX SCORE: Astros 7, Tigers 0

The Astros took a 1-0 lead just four pitches into the game. Jose Altuve singled out of the gate and then stole a base. He scored from second on a softly hit ball by Pena that was misplayed by Javier Baez. Bregman then brought Pena home on an RBI single.

Detroit looked like it might be ready to fight fire with fire. Riley Greene singled to lead off the first and reached third after Astros catcher Martin Maldonado’s throw down went into the outfield. Greene was then thrown out at home after breaking for the plate on a ground ball by Baez.

“After they scored two in the first, we got a little excitable on the play,” Tigers manager AJ Hinch said. “Riley couldn’t go home on the ball to first. Whether the bat distracted him, the broken bat, or just a misread, that was overaggressive.”

Spencer Torkelson hit a ball in the first inning that traveled 416 feet, to the corner of where Comerica Park’s left field wall meets center field, but the ball was caught and two runners were stranded.

Torkelson went 0-for-4 on Monday night after batting 9-for-22 with a 1.186 OPS on the Tigers’ most recent roadtrip.

Baez got Detroit starter Eduardo Rodriguez out of a one-out, bases-loaded jam in the third when he started a double play off the bat of Kyle Tucker.

More: Astros pitcher, Wayne State product Hunter Brown prepares for homecoming

That opened the door for the Tigers to grab some momentum in the third inning, but they instead had another runner thrown out at home. After a two-out double, Castro went home on a single from Baez and was initially called safe on the play. The Astros challenged and umpires reversed the call, keeping the Tigers scoreless.

“When Willie got thrown out, he didn’t take a great route,” Hinch said. “He came out, he came in, he came out again, it probably cost him a foot or two and bang-bang play at home. Those are mistakes, when it’s against a good team like Houston, it’s hard to chip away.”

The Astros threatened again with no outs in the fifth. With runners on first and third and no outs, Tigers third baseman Ryan Kreidler made a nice defensive play by baiting Pena into running home before eventually getting him out in a rundown.

In the next two at-bats, though, Tucker drove home a run on a fielder’s choice and Yuli Gurriel roped a two-RBI double to make it 5-0, Astros.

Foley and Hill kept the Astros quiet through the eighth inning, but Houston loaded the bases in the ninth and Tucker took advantage with a two-RBI single into the gap that sealed Detroit’s fate.

Twitter: @nolanbianchi

nbianchi@detroitnews.com

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