6/28/2014 8:46 P.M. ET
Hoes makes presence felt with the leather
By Richard Dean / Special to MLB.com
HOUSTON -- The Astros weren't making a lot of contact off Detroit starter Max Scherzer on Saturday. But they didn't need much offense with Houston left fielder L.J. Hoes providing the defense.
Hoes' seventh-inning diving catch with the bases loaded for the inning's final out preserved a 2-1 lead at Minute Maid Park, which they took into the ninth inning, but Ian Kinsler's three-run homer off Jerome Williams stole a 4-3 win for the Tigers.
Coincidentally, it was Kinsler who looked like he was going to get the best of Houston reliever Josh Zeid in the seventh inning. Zeid relieved Brett Oberholtzer with two men on and one out before loading the bases on a single and getting a fielder's-choice groundout.
Kinsler's shallow pop looked like hit all the way, but a hard-charging Hoes made the diving catch running in, much to the delight of the 25,788 at Minute Maid Park.
"I think after that bases-loaded situation, Kinsler wanted to get some payback a little bit," Tigers manager Brad Ausmus said.
Houston's loss to start the second half of its season put Hoes' remarkable catch on the back burner. It was a play that saved at least two runs.
"If that ball drops, they score two runs and it could be first and third and you never know what's going to happen," said Hoes. "I'm trying to make a play right there and save the pitcher, get out of the inning and keep the lead."
The momentum was all in Houston's favor after the diving catch by Hoes, who came running in hard to make the play.
"Hoes' catch was a game changer," said manager Bo Porter. "At that point, you felt good."
Oberholtzer always ready to answer the call
HOUSTON -- With Dallas Keuchel scratched from his scheduled start on Saturday with left wrist inflammation, left-hander Brett Oberholtzer got the start for Houston against Detroit. Oberholtzer was recalled from Triple-A Oklahoma City and right-hander Jake Buchanan was optioned to the RedHawks.
This is Oberholtzer's third stint in the Major Leagues this season. Oberholtzer (2-6, 4.76 ERA) made two starts in his previous stint with Houston, posting a 2-0 record with a 2.08 ERA over 13 innings, with wins over Seattle and Baltimore.
Astros manager Bo Porter likes the way Oberholtzer makes the transition between the Major Leagues and Minor Leagues. Last season, Oberholtzer made 13 appearances for Houston, including 10 starts, and was named the team's Pitcher of the Year as a rookie.
"He's handled it tremendously each time he's had to go back to the Minor Leagues," said Porter. "He understands the situation we're in. He's kind of like the sixth starter. We didn't want to have him just sitting out in the bullpen and not going on a regular turn.
"So mentally he's kept himself in the right frame of mind every time to be able to come up here and give us quality starts."
In Friday night's 4-3, 11-inning win over the Tigers, Buchanan (1-1) earned the win. He retired Miguel Cabrera, Victor Martinez and J.D. Martinez in order in the top of the 11th, his lone inning.
Astros hope for speedy returns for Keuchel, Fowler
HOUSTON -- The Astros are hopeful that left-hander Dallas Keuchel won't miss any extended time because of the left wrist inflammation that forced him to miss his scheduled start on Saturday, which also saw Houston center fielder Dexter Fowler miss his second straight start with back tightness.
The Astros are hopeful that both players will be back in the lineup soon. At this point, the Astros are not concerned that Keuchel will be put on the disabled list.
"We're not going to put him at risk of going out there at anything less than 100 percent," said Astros manager Bo Porter. "But we just have to wait and see."
Keuchel said he's never had inflammation before. After initially being concerned, Keuchel said the Astros' training staff put him at ease and said a little rest will be beneficial.
"Just judging by the way it's reacting and stuff, it should be a few days," said Keuchel. "A little precautionary and just to make sure I'm able to finish the year on a healthy note.
"It was a little nerve-wracking at first, but we got a good training staff and they assured me that everything was going to be fine. It's just a matter of resting a couple days. I'm taking their advice and trying to rest it as much as possible. And it's feeling pretty good, so I'm happy about it."
Fowler was a scratch on Friday, and for the second straight game was replaced in center by Alex Presley on Saturday.
"He's dealing with some back stiffness, tightness," said Porter before Saturday's matchup with the Tigers. "He's going to be out again today. We'll see how he feels tomorrow, and make a better assessment on him."
Added Fowler: "It just popped up on me. If it was my decision, I would have played yesterday."
Altuve's star continues to rise
HOUSTON -- Jose Altuve's numbers keep getting higher and higher. In Friday's 4-3 win over Detroit, which was capped by Jason Castro's first career walk-off home run in the 11th inning, Altuve tied a career high with four hits, accomplished six times.
The Houston second baseman also stole two bases, including a steal of home, and has a steal in four consecutive games, which ties a career high.
"I was looking for an opportunity to take the next base," said Altuve. "I feel that's really important, especially with the guys behind me [George Springer, Jon Singleton]. It will be easier to score. That's what I'm doing right now.
"It's not a secret it was a good game, not only for me. We came up with a big homer. It was a really good game."
Altuve entered Saturday as the Major League leader with 111 hits. His .342 batting average leads the American League, as does his 32 stolen bases. Altuve's 33 multihit games this season leads the Major Leagues.
Altuve's 932,978 votes in the most recent All-Star balloting update trailed Robinson Cano of the Mariners (2,007,055), Ian Kinsler of the Tigers (1,338,272) and Dustin Pedroia of the Red Sox (1,264,329).
Fans can cast their votes for starters at MLB.com -- online or on a mobile device -- using the 2014 All-Star Game MLB.com Ballot Sponsored by Experian until Thursday, July 3, at 10:59 p.m. CT. The 2014 All-Star Game will be played at Target Field on Tuesday, July 15 on FOX.
Richard Dean is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.