DETROIT (AP) - For the second time in five days, Miguel Cabrera was at the plate with the winning run on base and the Detroit Tigers down to their final out.
This time, he lifted a deep flyball to right-center field with the bases loaded, but it didn't carry quite far enough, and Houston's Brandon Barnes made the catch against the wall.
Barnes' catch preserved a 7-5 victory for the Astros on Wednesday after Houston scored two runs in the top of the ninth inning. The Tigers won their first six meetings with the Astros this year by a combined 50-12.
``That was the perfect ending - Miggy at the plate with the bases loaded and two out,' Detroit outfielder Torii Hunter said. ``He hit the ball really good but it just didn't work out for us.'
Carlos Corporan hit a tiebreaking double in the ninth for the Astros. Jose Veras pitched the bottom of 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.
On Saturday, Cabrera came up with two on and grounded out to end a 7-6 loss to Cleveland. The Detroit slugger has 41 RBIs already this season, thanks mostly to an incredible stretch with runners in scoring position. Coming into Wednesday's game, Cabrera was 25 of 50 with runners in scoring position - 12 of 19 with two outs.
But Barnes ran down Cabrera's deep fly to deny the Triple Crown winner a potential extra-base hit.
``I just knew if he hit it out there, I'd have to get a good bead on it,' Barnes said. ``Just try to get under it and not stop until the catch was made.'
Hector Ambriz (1-2) got the win.
Detroit's Al Alburquerque (0-1) walked J.D. Martinez starting the ninth, and manager Jim Leyland pulled him.
``It's depressing,' Leyland said. ``If I had seen any signs that he was going to throw the ball over the plate, I would have left him in. I didn't really want (Phil) Coke against a switch-hitter.'
Coke, a left-hander, came on and allowed Corporan's double to the gap in left-center that made it 6-5. Matt Dominguez added a sacrifice fly.
Alburquerque has struck out 26 in 14 1-3 innings this year, but he's also walked 13 and thrown six wild pitches.
``Maybe not getting enough work - I don't know the answer,' Leyland said. ``He's struggling with his control.'
When Veras hit Hunter with an 0-2 pitch, Cabrera came to the plate with a chance to tie or win the game. Barnes - who entered as a pinch-runner in the top of the inning and stayed in to play center field - caught the final out against the out-of-town scoreboard.
Houston, which stopped a six-game losing streak, is 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 solo 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.
The Associated Press News Service
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