HOUSTON -- Max Scherzer was about to suffer a fate no Tiger pitcher had endured since 1967. But then Ian Kinsler did something no Tiger has done since 1960, and he did so in the most dramatic way imaginable.
With the Tigers one out from losing, Kinsler drilled a three-run homer in the ninth to provide a 4-3 win over Houston today.
Scherzer struck out 13 in seven innings and left losing, 2-1. The last time a Tigers pitcher fanned that many and lost in a game that didn't go extra innings came when Mickey Lolich struck out 13 and lost to Boston in September of the Great Race of 1967.
Kinsler's homer, which put the Tigers ahead 4-2, was his second hit of the game. He became the first Tiger since Frank Bolling in 1960 to have seven straight multi-hit games in the same season.
While Scherzer fanned 13, Astros manager Bo Porter struck out in some unconventional relief-pitcher strategy. Porter summoned his closer, Chad Qualls, to face the Tigers big hitters in the eighth. He pitched a scoreless inning.
For the ninth, Porter called on veteran right-hander Jerome Williams, who has one career save. Nick Castellanos led off with a single, and pinch runner Austin Jackson went to second on Eugenio Suarez's third hit, a one-out single.
Rajai Davis tried to bunt for a hit and was thrown out. With the runners at second and third, and needing a single to put the Tigers ahead, Kinsler launched a 2-0 pitcher over the fence in left-center.
Kinsler drilled the homer off the same pillar where Tigers manager Brad Ausmus landed the biggest homer of his career. It also came with his team losing and two out in the ninth, in Game 4 of the 2005 division series against Atlanta. With a win, the Braves would have sent the series back to Atlanta for a decisive Game 5; instead, the Astros won in 18 innings to advance to the championship series.
Tigers closer Joe Nathan allowed a leadoff homer in the ninth to Alex Gonzalez to make it a one-run game. He then got a pop-out from Matt Dominguez, fanned Chris Carter (13 homers), and retired Marwin Gonzalez on a fly to center for the final out.
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