DETROIT – James McCann hasn’t hit many homers in the major leagues. But when he has connected, he’s done it with style.
McCann’s first home run was an inside-the-parker last month. His second shot came Thursday — a leadoff drive in the bottom of the 11th inning that lifted the Detroit Tigers over the Houston Astros 6-5.
“I’m not sure what I’m going to do for an encore,” McCann said. “I’m hoping to play long enough up here to hit a bunch of normal homers, too.”
McCann hit Tony Sipp’s 0-2 splitter into the Tigers bullpen, just beyond the reach of leaping left fielder Colby Rasmus.
“He threw me the same pitch on 0-1, and I swung at it in the dirt,” McCann said. “On 0-2, I wanted to make sure to get something in the zone, and he left it up a little.”
Alex Wilson (2-0) pitched two scoreless innings for the win.
Detroit led 5-0 after six innings. Pinch hitter Preston Tucker tied it with one out in the ninth, connecting off Joakim Soria for his first career homer.
It was Soria’s blown save in 14 chances this season.
“That was great,” Astros manager A.J. Hinch said. “To see a kid come off the bench and get his first homer in a huge spot to tie the game against a closer who is having a great year.”
Astros reliever Josh Fields got the first out in the bottom of the ninth, but had to leave the game after Anthony Gose’s liner hit him on the right knee. Will Harris came in to strike out Ian Kinsler and Miguel Cabrera to send the game to extra innings.
Tigers starter David Price allowed three runs — two earned — while striking out 12 in 6 2-3 innings.
Houston starter Scott Feldman gave up five runs on 10 hits and a walk in six innings.
Nick Castellanos, who drove in four runs in Wednesday night’s win over the Brewers, hit a two-run homer in the fourth.
In the fifth, the Tigers loaded the bases with no outs on two singles and an error before Ian Kinsler grounded into an RBI forceout. Miguel Cabrera singled home a run for a 4-0 lead.
Rajai Davis’ double made it 5-0 in the sixth.
Evan Gattis drove in a run in the seventh with the second triple of his three-season career. Jonathan Villar singled home a run and Hank Conger chased Price with another RBI single.
“It is never easy out there, no matter how the first six innings looked, and I didn’t feel any different in the seventh,” Price said. “Those guys on the other side are professionals, too.”
George Springer’s double off Joba Chamberlain made it 5-4 in the eighth, and he was able to take third on Davis’ error in right field. But Gattis grounded out and Chris Carter lined out.
“That was a big, big comeback by our guys,” Hinch said. “This is a tough one to lose, just because of how we did come back.”
Astros: X-rays of Fields’ knee showed no damage, and he is day-to-day with bruising. … RHP Samuel Deduno was put on the 15-day disabled list Monday with a back strain, but the Astros are encouraged by MRI results this week. Instead of a lengthy stay on the DL, Deduno has been able to continue soft tossing, and is expected to throw a bullpen session during Houston’s weekend series in Detroit.
Tigers: RHP Bruce Rondon was scheduled to start a rehab assignment by pitching an inning for Triple-A Toledo Thursday. Rondon, who hasn’t pitched since 2013, is expected to throw another inning Sunday for the Mud Hens, then build up to pitching on back-to-back days.
The Astros and Tigers return to action on Friday night, with Alfredo Simon (4-2, 3.04) and his 55-mph soap-bubble pitch facing Houston’s Collin McHugh (5-1, 4.09). McHugh, who has won 12 of his last 13 decisions, will be facing the Tigers for the first time.