<
>

Zack Short, Detroit Tigers cool off Houston Astros as their 11-game winning streak comes to an end

DETROIT -- Thanks to heavy rain in Michigan across 48 hours, the Detroit Tigers had an extra day inside a weekend series to prepare for the red-hot Houston Astros.

They made the most of it.

After storms washed out Friday's second game of the four-game series, Zack Short's first home run in the majors broke a fifth-inning tie and helped the Tigers snap the Astros' 11-game winning streak with a 3-1 victory in the first game of Saturday's doubleheader.

Houston manager Dusty Baker was optimistic after the opener, mentioning the six hits the Astros amassed and that the opportunities were there. His club indeed shook it off in Game 2 and relied on the stars to shine.

Carlos Correa and Yordan Alvarez homered, and Lance McCullers Jr. pitched into the fifth inning, yielding just two runs, as the Astros rallied in the nightcap for a 3-2 win. McCullers struck out seven and walked two en route to his fifth victory of the season, opposed by just one loss.

When the Astros set sail on the day in Detroit, they could have broken their franchise-record 12-game winning streak with a sweep of the twin bill. They opened the series on Thursday with authority, breezing past the Tigers 12-3.

But Saturday's opener belonged to the home team -- and Short, who was promoted just in time to be Detroit's 27th man for the doubleheader. Casey Mize (5-4) improved to 2-0 in his past four starts, giving up one run on six hits and two walks in six innings. And he struck out five to beat the Astros for the second time this season.

"I had some success down there against them, so I've been watching that start back," Mize said. "I had a lot of success with my splitter against them, so I used that a lot today."

Tigers manager AJ Hinch concurred.

"He's a really good pitcher," he said. "We know what he's capable of doing."

Jose Cisnero pitched the seventh for his third save.

Short had his first career extra-base hit on a third-inning double, then homered off Framber Valdez in the fifth.

"I knew I hit it pretty well, but I saw [right fielder Kyle] Tucker getting ready to jump," Short said. "When he didn't get it, I definitely blacked out. That's an incredible feeling."

One that he might get more opportunities to have in the majors, especially if he keeps this up.

"We know we can trust Zack in the field, and he's got some pop," Hinch said. "He isn't always going to be going back [to the minors] after days like this."

Valdez (4-1) lost for the first time in six starts this season, allowing three runs on six hits in a six-inning complete game. He struck out six without walking a hitter.

"I felt good out there," Valdez said. "I thought my only mistake was hanging the one pitch to [Short]. I was good other than that."

Valdez and Mize were both starting for the first time since umpires started checking pitchers for foreign substances on Monday. Valdez's spin rate was down 8% on his sinker and 7% on his curve, while Mize's four-seam fastball was down 8%, and his sinker was down 10%.

The Tigers took a 1-0 lead in the second on an Isaac Paredes sacrifice fly, but Correa tied the game with an RBI single in the third.

In the fifth, Paredes led off with an infield single, took second on a Jake Rogers sacrifice bunt and scored when Short hit a 1-1 changeup just over the right-field fence.

With nearly 7 inches of rain falling at Comerica Park between Friday and Saturday morning, there was flooding on many local streets and freeways that fans had to travel over to get to the park. However, the field was ready to go for the 1:10 p.m. start on a largely gray day in Michigan.

Before the game, the Astros recalled right-handed pitcher Andre Scrubb to be the 27th man in the doubleheader. The Tigers' choice was a bit more valuable: Short, who came into the game with just three singles in five career games.

And after a quick celebration in the clubhouse with his new teammates, Short was inserted back into the lineup for Game 2 at shortstop. He finished the nightcap 0-3, batting out of the No. 9 position.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.