- Associated Press - Saturday, August 15, 2015

HOUSTON (AP) - Miguel Cabrera didn’t get a hit in his return Friday night from six weeks on the disabled list.

The Detroit slugger, who didn’t go on a rehabilitation assignment before his return, thinks his inability to connect in the 5-1 loss to the Houston Astros had more to do with Dallas Keuchel than his timing at the plate.

“You are facing one of the best pitchers in the league,” said Cabrera, who was 0 for 3 with a walk. “What do you expect - to get three hits off the DL against one of the best pitchers in the league? It’s not going to happen.”

Keuchel struck out eight in seven solid innings and Jed Lowrie powered the offense with a two-RBI double to lead the Astros to the victory.

Cabrera had been out with a strained calf in his first trip to the DL in his 13-year career.

“His timing is obviously not perfect,” manager Brad Ausmus said. “His last at bat he hit the ball hard, but that’s to be expected.”

The Astros trailed entering the fifth inning before scoring three runs, capped by Lowrie’s double to take a 3-1 lead.

Keuchel (14-6) yielded six hits and one run to improve to 11-0 at home this season. His 14 wins overall are tied for most in the AL.

Alfredo Simon (10-7) allowed six hits and four runs in five-plus innings for the loss.

“He was having a little trouble with command of the strike zone,” Ausmus said. “He threw a lot of balls that were almost 50-50 balls.”

The Astros added a run on a sacrifice bunt by Marwin Gonzalez in the sixth and Chris Carter doubled in another one in the eighth.

Keuchel bounced back after tying a season-high with 10 hits in a loss to Oakland last week. He had retired nine of the first 10 batters before Ian Kinsler singled to start the fourth inning. Keuchel then walked Cabrera on four pitches and the Tigers took a 1-0 lead on the groundball RBI single by Victor Martinez.

The Tigers threatened in the fifth inning when a broken-bat double by Jose Iglesias followed by a single from Anthony Gose left runners at first and third with one out in the inning. But Keuchel escaped the jam by striking out Rajai Davis before Kinsler grounded out.

“We knew it was going to be tough to score runs, and it was,” Ausmus said. “(Keuchel’s) got a lot of movement, a lot of deception. He’s tough for hitters to square the ball on.”

The Astros tied it at 1-all on a groundout by Jose Altuve in the fifth inning. Rookie Carlos Correa walked with two outs and stole second base before Lowrie’s double that scored two.

Houston’s Carlos Gomez had a difficult night, going 0 for 4 with two strikeouts. His frustration boiled over in the eighth inning after his second strikeout when he slammed his bat across his thigh three times before cracking it in half.


Tigers: LHP Kyle Lobstein (sore left shoulder) will continue his rehabilitation assignment at Triple-A Toledo. He made two starts at Single-A Lakeland where he was 0-1 with a 3.52 ERA. He has been out since May 24.

Astros: OF George Springer (broken right wrist) was cleared to resume baseball activities on Friday, but the Astros still aren’t sure when he’ll come off the disabled list. Springer, who’s hasn’t played since July 1, said it’s been difficult to sit out for so long and that’s he’s anxious to take the next step in his recovery. He’ll be able to throw and catch, but manager A.J. Hinch said he’s not quite ready to swing a bat yet.


Evan Gattis tripled with no outs in the sixth inning to chase Simon. The burly 230-pound Gattis is second in the majors with nine triples this season after he hit just one in his first two seasons combined.


Detroit’s Justin Verlander (1-5, 4.57) looks to end a two-game skid when he opposes Collin McHugh (13-6, 4.22) when the series continues on Saturday. McHugh is tied for second in the AL with 13 wins, but is coming off of a loss at Oakland.

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