Cristian Javier allowed two hits in six innings and the Houston Astros beat Detroit 2-1 on Wednesday for a seven-game sweep over the Tigers.
Javier (9-9) struck out eight and didn’t walk, winning for the third time in four decisions. He gave up 13 straight before singles with two outs from Riley Greene in the sixth.
“They didn’t have a lot of right-handers in their lineup, so I knew I was going to use my slider mostly against right-handed hitters,” Javier said. “I think our whole rotation is focused on attacking the strike zone and doing our best. Right now, we’re all doing very well.”
Ryan Pressly, Houston’s fourth pitcher, threw a ninth hit for his 28th save in 32 chances, completing a four-hitter.
Houston swept the Tigers in a season for the first time since moving to the AL in 2013 after winning three games against Detroit in 1998 and 1999 while in the NL.
“You have to win these kinds of games,” Astros manager Dusty Baker said. “You know, you’re not going to beat everyone every day and score a bunch of points. You have to win games 3-2 and 2-1 – just find a way to win.
The top AL Astros (93-50), closing in on their sixth straight playoff appearance, are 25-8 against AL Central this season.
Last-place Detroit (54-89), already assured of a losing record, is poised for its first 90-game losing season since going 47-114 in 2019. The Tigers have never led over the from this week’s series.
Joey Wentz (1-2) allowed two runs and four hits over four innings. The Tigers have lost four straight and 11 of 15.
“They’re a really good team – they have a plan and they rarely stray from it,” Tigers manager AJ Hinch said. “He saw them for the first time and he really fought for order twice. He was efficient. »
Kyle Tucker homered in the lead in the fourth and Alex Bregman hit a sacrificial fly in the fifth.
Javier Báez homered in the seventh against Bryan Abreu, tying Jeimer Candelario for the team lead with his 13th homer. Detroit has already been shut out a team record 21 times.
Greene nearly gave the Tigers a 3-2 lead in the eighth, but his 420-foot drive to center field was caught against the wall by Chas McCormick.
“It has to be the biggest ballpark left in the game, and the pitchers have to take advantage of it,” Baker said. “I remember Barry Bonds used to tell Jason Schmidt to trust the park in San Francisco, and it’s true here as well.”
Greene, who landed a dive into deep right center field on Tuesday, knows the difficulty of hitting a homer to center field better than anyone.
“I just had to hit a little harder,” he said.
Yordan Alvarez has been dropped from training by Houston. Baker said it was due to a sore hand, but Alvarez said after the game he was fine.
“I thought it was just a normal day off,” Alvarez said. “I think there was a misunderstanding somewhere, but I feel good. I will be ready to play tomorrow.
Two-time Cy Young Award winner Justin Verlander, who has been sidelined since Aug. 28 with a calf injury, must be activated to start Friday against Oakland.
Astros: RHP Lance McCullers Jr. (3-1, 2.20) starts the first game of a four-game series Thursday against the visiting A’s, who start RHP James Kaprielian (3-9, 4.79).
Tigers: RHP Matt Manning (2-2, 3.73) takes the mound for Friday’s series opener against RHP Lucas Giolito (10-9, 5.18) of the visiting Chicago White Sox.
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This story was originally published September 14, 2022 4:51 p.m.