By Jeff O'Brien

Wilson Ramos hit two home runs and Renato Núñez and rookie Akil Baddoo each homered for the second straight game as the Detroit Tigers slugged their way to an 8-2 win over the Houston Astros on Tuesday night.

Ramos has stepped into the cleanup spot with Miguel Cabrera sidelined by a biceps injury, and his six homers lead the majors.

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HOUSTON, TX – APRIL 12: Detroit Tigers left fielder Robbie Grossman (8) hits a hard shot to center during the baseball game between the Detroit Tigers and Houston Astros at Minute Maid Park on April 12, 2021 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Ken Murray/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

“Miggy is one of the leaders of this team and we need him back,” Ramos said. “But since he’s not here right now I have to take that spot he left. I’m very happy with what I’m doing right now. I don’t want to be Miggy’s bat, but I want to give support to my team.”

Baddoo, a Rule 5 pick, is off to a scorching start to his major league career with four homers in eight games. Nomar Mazara also homered to give the Tigers a season-high five long balls as they won their second straight following a four-game skid.

“We’ve made them come inside the strike zone,” Detroit manager A.J. Hinch said. “I think we’ve been selective and punished some mistakes when they’ve made mistakes.”

The Tigers spoiled the Astros debut of Jake Odorizzi (0-1), who got a late start to the season after signing on March 8. Detroit tagged him for seven hits and five runs, including three homers, in 3 1/3 innings to hand the Astros their fourth consecutive loss after a 6-1 start.

HOUSTON, TX – APRIL 12: Detroit Tigers catcher Grayson Greiner (17) is congratulated by Detroit Tigers shortstop Willi Castro (9) after his two-run shot in the top of the second inning during the baseball game between the Detroit Tigers and Houston Astros at Minute Maid Park on April 12, 2021 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Ken Murray/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

“This one’s on me,” Odorizzi said. “Anytime you give up multiple runs in a mid-game inning it’s usually a tough one to come back from. Maybe treat it as a learning tool and try to move from it differently and how to attack it. Having a short area in left field is a different aspect and I got my firsthand experience tonight.”

In his first visit to his former team, Hinch won the opening two games, securing the Tigers’ first series win against the Astros since July 28-30, 2017, and the first series win in Houston since May 2-5, 2013. Hinch was suspended for a year by MLB in January 2020 and subsequently fired by the Astros for his role in the team’s sign-stealing scandal before being hired by Detroit this offseason.

Detroit starter Matthew Boyd (2-1) yielded six hits and one run in 6 2/3 innings.

HOUSTON, TX – APRIL 12: Detroit Tigers manager A.J. Hinch (14) is welcomed back to Minute Maid Park for first time since he left as Houston Astros Manager during the baseball game between the Detroit Tigers and Houston Astros at Minute Maid Park on April 12, 2021 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Ken Murray/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Yordan Alvarez and Yuli Gurriel hit consecutive singles with no outs in the second and Alvarez scored on a one-out single by Myles Straw that made it 1-0. But Boyd struck out Jason Castro and Jose Altuve to limit the damage.

Those strikeouts were the first of 10 batters in a row retired by Boyd. He allowed a single apiece in the fifth and sixth innings.

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The Tigers tied it in the third with Baddoo’s full-count homer to the seats in left field. The ball landed in a sea of Astros fans clad in orange and navy jerseys. But a lone fan in a white Detroit jersey in the middle of the group collected it off the floor and beamed as he held it high in the air.

Jeimer Candelario, who had two hits, doubled to open the fourth before Mazara’s homer with one output the Tigers up 3-1. Jonathan Schoop singled and Núñez made it 5-1 with his shot to left field.

HOUSTON, TX – APRIL 12: Detroit Tigers catcher Grayson Greiner (17) crosses homeplate after his two-run shot in the top of the second inning during the baseball game between the Detroit Tigers and Houston Astros at Minute Maid Park on April 12, 2021 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Ken Murray/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

There was one on and one out in the fifth when Ramos blasted his fifth homer this season to extend the lead to 7-1.

With two outs in the ninth, he connected to right field again, this time off Nivaldo Rodriguez.

LIMITING THE LONG BALL

The Astros have given up 13 homers during their four-game skid.

“They’ve been hitting the ball out of the ballpark on us with consistency the past four days,” Houston manager Dusty Baker said. “We’ve got to find a way to not give up those homers. This ballpark helps but we play in this ballpark, too. We’ve got to find a way to stop that ball from going over the fence.”

UP NEXT

Detroit’s Michael Fulmer (0-0, 2.57 ERA) opposes Lance McCullers Jr. (1-0, 1.80) when the Tigers try for the sweep on Wednesday night.

 

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