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Brown throws 7 scoreless innings, Dubón homers and Astros beat Tigers 4-0

HOUSTON (AP) — Hunter Brown struck out nine in seven scoreless innings and Mauricio Dubón hit a two-run homer as the Houston Astros got a big sixth inning for a 4-0 win over the Detroit Tigers on Friday night.

Brown (3-5) allowed five hits, Bryan Abreu pitched a scoreless eighth and Josh Hader struck out one in the ninth to complete the shutout.

The Astros had just one hit on a leadoff double by Altuve when he doubled to left field to start the sixth inning. He scored on a triple by Alex Bregman, which extended his hitting streak to a career-long 15 games.

A sacrifice fly by Yordan Alvarez sent Bregman home to make it 2-0. Yainer Diaz singled with two outs before Dubón homered off Tarik Skubal (8-2) into the seats in left field to push the lead to 4-0.

“Our guys just kept battling and he left some changeups up in the zone,” Houston manager Joe Espada said. “We just stayed on him and that's what you do when you have such a quality pitcher on the mound.”

Skubal gave up six hits and tied a season high with four runs in 6 1/3 innings.

“I didn’t execute some pitches there and that’s a good team,” he said.

Colt Keith had two hits for the Tigers, who lost for the third time in four games.

Detroit manager A.J. Hinch was asked how Brown kept the Tigers off balance.

“He really overpowered a lot of us and then he mixed in a couple of breaking balls,” he said. “The curveball that he threw late in counts was effective. He was very, very good.”

Altuve doubled to start Houston’s first and moved to third on a groundout before Jeremy Peña was hit on the arm by a pitch with two outs. Peña stole second base, but Skubal struck out Diaz to end the threat.

Skubal sailed through the next four innings, with Houston’s only runner in that stretch coming when Altuve walked in the third.

Ryan Kreidler opened the second by hitting a ball to right field that looked to be a double. But the Astros challenged the play, saying that he didn’t touch first base and the call was overturned for the first out of the inning.

“I can’t remember the last time that that’s happened,” Hinch said.

Detroit didn’t have another baserunner until Justyn-Henry Malloy singled with one out in the fifth.

Jake Meyers preserved the shutout by robbing Riley Greene of a homer with a spectacular leaping catch for the first out of the ninth inning. Meyers screamed ‘Let’s go,’ after coming down with the ball just in front of the wall in center field and Hader put his hands on his head and smiled broadly.

“I really enjoy it,” Meyers said. “I just try to help the team win, however I can really. It’s as simple as I’m just trying to catch everything in the air.”

TRAINER’S ROOM

Tigers: SS Javier Báez (lumber spine inflammation) received an injection in his back to address the inflammation Friday. He could resume baseball activity by early next week.

Astros: Espada said RF Kyle Tucker, who is on the injured list with a bruised right shin, is doing better but won’t return Saturday. He added that he hasn’t yet resumed baseball activity.

ABREU RELEASED

The Astros released José Abreu on Friday, cutting ties with the former AL MVP less than halfway through a three-year, $58.5 million contract.

The 37-year-old Abreu was batting .124 (14 for 113) with two homers and seven RBIs this season, during which he spent time in the minors trying to fix his swing. The Astros still owe him $30.8 million from the deal he signed before last season.

General manager Dana Brown said this was an extremely difficult decision considering how much money he is still owed.

“It’s always tough when the deal doesn’t work out, but it just didn’t work out this time,” Brown said.

UP NEXT

Houston RHP Justin Verlander (3-2, 3.95 ERA) will face his former team Saturday when he opposes RHP Jack Flaherty (3-4, 3.22).

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AP MLB: https://apnews.com/hub/mlb

Kristie Rieken, The Associated Press