HOUSTON (AP) — On deck, Victor Martinez saw Miguel Cabrera take four sliders for balls in the 11th.
When he stepped to the plate, Martinez expected to get a fastball. He did, and he knew what to do with it.
Martinez hit a tiebreaking RBI double in a three-run 11th and the Detroit Tigers beat the Houston Astros 4-2 Saturday night.
"The first thing that came to mind was that he wasn’t going to throw another slider, so I was going to look for a fastball right there, and that’s what I got," Martinez said through a translator.
Preston Tucker led off the bottom of the ninth with a homer to right-center against Bruce Rondon to tie it at 1, spoiling an impressive start by Justin Verlander.
J.D. Martinez and Tyler Collins followed Victor Martinez with back-to-back run-scoring singles off Pat Neshek (3-3) to make it 4-1. Jose Iglesias singled and Cabrera walked to start the inning.
"Just think he had an off night," Detroit manager Brad Ausmus said of Neshek. "He’s a very good relief pitcher who’s pitched well for them. I just think it was an off night for him and we were able to take advantage."
Al Alburquerque (2-0) pitched the 10th for the win. Neftali Feliz gave up a two-out RBI single to Jed Lowrie before getting Carlos Gomez to ground out for his first save with the Tigers and seventh this season.
Ian Kinsler gave Detroit the lead in the fifth following a replay. Kinsler hit a liner to left field that Tucker made what appeared to be a sliding, inning-ending grab on. But after Detroit asked for a review, the call was overturned and Anthony Gose, who had walked and stole second, was awarded home.
Houston manager A.J. Hinch came out to argue with home plate umpire and crew chief Bill Miller and was ejected. It was his second ejection of the season, with the first coming June 20 at Seattle for also arguing a replay challenge.
"Everything comes from New York," Hinch said. "The key with replay is you can’t argue the result after it goes to replay. I didn’t argue it. We knew the play resulted in what it did. I do believe in getting an explanation as to what the interpretation was as to why Gose would or wouldn’t score."
Verlander scattered three hits with seven strikeouts in seven innings. He retired 12 of 13 at one point, including eight straight. It was his second straight solid outing and fourth in his last five starts — allowing two or fewer runs in four.
"Fastball command felt really good," Verlander said. "I made a few mistakes there, but only a few is not bad over the course of the game. I was able to locate my fastball most of the night, and I had the off-speed when I needed it."
Verlander passed Barry Zito for 93rd in strikeouts, with 1,884.
Cabrera had two hits in his second game off the disabled list, and Iglesias had two hits as well.
Collin McHugh allowed one run on four hits with seven strikeouts over seven innings. The right-hander continued his recent string of solid outings, giving up four runs over three August starts.
"I was pretty pleased," McHugh said. "There were three innings that we got two quick outs, and the third guy got on. That’s something I would like to clean up if I can."
Carlos Correa and Lowrie each had two hits for Houston.
Tigers: Victor Martinez started at first base for the first time this season, while Cabrera was the designated hitter. Ausmus said he had held back from putting Martinez at first because of offseason knee surgery.
"I had a couple coaches that thought Victor would be fine here and there at first. I kind of held back out an abundance of caution," Ausmus said. "I have come around and reluctantly let him play first because it’s a way to get Miggy off his feet and allow him a chance to get his timing back."
CELEBRATE LIKE IT’S 2005
The Astros celebrated the 2005 National League championship team, the only Houston team to make it to the World Series. A luncheon was held featuring a majority of the team along with a pregame ceremony. Lance Berkman, Craig Biggio, Jeff Bagwell, Roy Oswalt, Brad Lidge, manager Phil Garner, Chad Qualls, a reliever on the current Astros club, and Ausmus, who was the catcher on that team, were all in attendance for the pregame ceremony.
Tigers: LHP Matt Boyd (1-3) makes his third start Sunday since being acquired from Toronto at the trade deadline. Boyd is 1-1 in his previous two starts with Detroit.
Astros: RHP Mike Fiers makes his second start for Houston. Fiers, who was acquired July 30 from Milwaukee, got a no decision after yielding a run in 6 2-3 in his last start at Oakland.