DETROIT -- Nothing comes easy for the Houston Astros these days. When they finally broke their six-game losing streak on Wednesday, Brandon Barnes' back was literally against the wall and their hearts were figuratively in their throats.
Barnes leaped against the right-center field wall to snare Miguel Cabrera's fly ball with the bases loaded, preserving a 7-5 victory over the Detroit Tigers at Comerica Park
"You say it's a game of inches," Houston Astros manager Bo Porter said. "The inches fell our way today."
Barnes, who turned 27 on Wednesday, had just entered the game in the top of the inning as a pinch-runner. Closer Jose Veras got himself into trouble by walking Brayan Pena and Omar Infante and hitting Torii Hunter with a pitch. Cabrera's drive kept carrying and Barnes, who was playing centerfield, needed every inch of real estate to haul it in.
A conversation with Robbie Grossman, who played center the first eight innings, gave Barnes a fair warning.
"I talked to Grossman and he said the wind was kind of swirling all day and changing directions," he said. "It was weird because as soon as Miggy came up, the wind started blowing out. I knew I'd have to get a good jump on the ball."
Tigers manager Jim Leyland figured by the way Barnes chased the ball that it wasn't going over the wall.
"I wasn't 100 percent sure, because I think the wind was carrying the ball out all over, but not as much to right as left. But you can usually tell by the reaction of the outfielder," he said. "By the way he went after it, it looked like he didn't think it was going to make it (out). It looked like he felt like he was going to be able to get back against the fence and catch it."
The Astros scored two runs in the top of the ninth to take the lead. Barnes scored the go-ahead run after J.D. Martinez drew a leadoff walk against Al Albuquerque (0-1). Left-hander Phil Coke relieved Alburquerque and Carlos Corporan, who hit a solo homer in the second, ripped a double to knock in Barnes. Matt Dominguez brought in the final run with a sacrifice fly.
Martinez also hit a three-run homer for the Astros, who had lost their first six games to Detroit this season by a combined score of 50-12. The Tigers failed in their bid to sweep a season series of four games or more for the first time in franchise history.
Hector Ambriz (1-2) picked up the victory in relief. Veras collected his fifth save despite his control issues.
Houston entered the game with a 10-30 record, its worst start in franchise history after 40 games.
"It's real easy to come to the ballpark when you're 30-10. You really find out what you're made of when our record is what it is," Porter said. "You see the type of effort you saw out there today. It lets you know they get it, they understand."
Corporan continues to give his club strong efforts in a limited role. As the backup to starting catcher Jason Castro, Corporan is hitting .313 and his homer was his third this season and his second off Tigers starter Max Scherzer.
"I know my role," he said. "My role is to back up Jason and he's been doing a tremendous job for the team. When you're a backup (catcher), you kind of know when you're going to play, so you can prepare yourself better. I kind of knew I was playing this game and when you prepare good, good things happen."
Avisail Garcia hit his first career homer, a three-run shot in the second, for the Tigers.
Martinez erased Detroit's early three-run lead by crushing a Scherzer fastball off the brick wall beyond the left-center field seats for a 5-4 Astros advantage.
Scherzer, who hasn't lost this season, hung around through the seventh, but it was surprising to see him squander a three-run lead.
"I thought it was really a weird outing for Max, because he was this close to making great pitches that missed, and then he made some bad pitches that he left up in the middle of the zone," Leyland said. "He was around the plate pretty good, and they were really tough pitches, but he just couldn't get them quite close enough."
Matt Tuiasosopo's third single of the game tied it in the sixth.
NOTES: The Tigers open their four-game series at Texas on Thursday with a stellar pitching matchup between aces Justin Verlander and the Rangers' Yu Darvish. Houston has Thursday off, then plays at Pittsburgh for three games. ... Detroit Prince Fielder's 24-game streak of reaching base safely at Comerica ended as the Tigers cleanup hitter went 0 for 4. ... Houston recorded two double plays, giving it a major league-best 56.