NOAH TRISTER,AP Baseball Writer
DETROIT (AP) — Brandon Barnes caught Miguel Cabrera’s bases-loaded drive against the wall in right-center field for the final out, and the Houston Astros avoided a season sweep against the Detroit Tigers with a 7-5 victory Wednesday.
Carlos Corporan hit a tiebreaking double in the top of the ninth for the Astros, who lost their first six meetings with the Tigers by a combined 50-12.
Jose Veras pitched the ninth for his fifth save in seven chances. He walked two and hit a batter, but Cabrera’s drive came a few feet short of winning the game.
Hector Ambriz (1-2) got the win.
Al Alburquerque (0-1) walked J.D. Martinez starting the ninth, and Corporan followed with a drive to the gap in left-center off left-hander Phil Coke. Matt Dominguez added a sacrifice fly.
When Veras hit Torii Hunter with an 0-2 pitch, Cabrera came to the plate with a chance to tie or win the game. The Triple Crown winner lifted a flyball to deep right-center, but Barnes — who entered as a pinch-runner in the top of the inning and stayed in to play center field — had enough time to run it down and make the catch against the out-of-town scoreboard.
Houston stopped a six-game losing streak. The Astros are without standout second baseman Jose Altuve, on the bereavement list following the death of his grandmother.
Corporan and Martinez homered for Houston, and Avisail Garcia went deep for the Tigers.
The 21-year-old Garcia, playing center field because of Austin Jackson’s hamstring injury, hit his first major league homer in the second, a three-run shot to left-center that gave the Tigers a 4-1 lead.
Detroit starter Max Scherzer couldn’t hold it. He allowed a double to Jake Elmore to start the fourth, then balked him to third. Carlos Pena hit a run-scoring single, and after a walk to Chris Carter, Martinez hit his third homer of the year, a no-doubter to left-center that landed near Willie Horton’s retired No. 23 on the brick facade well behind the visiting bullpen at Comerica Park.
Scherzer allowed five runs and five hits in seven innings. He struck out seven and walked three.
Houston starter Dallas Keuchel allowed five runs — four earned — and seven hits in 5 2-3 innings.
Detroit tied it at 5 with an unearned run in the sixth. With two out, shortstop Marwin Gonzalez misplayed Victor Martinez’s grounder for an error. Jhonny Peralta followed with a single, and Matt Tuiasosopo tied it with a single.
Corporan opened the scoring with a second-inning homer. The Tigers tied it in the bottom of the inning on an RBI single by Brayan Pena, and Garcia followed with his home run.
NOTES: Keuchel and Detroit reliever Drew Smyly were roommates while playing college baseball at Arkansas. … The Astros have Thursday off. Detroit sends ace Justin Verlander (4-3) to the mound at Texas in a terrific pitching matchup against Yu Darvish (6-1) of the Rangers.
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