(SportsNetwork.com) - The Detroit Tigers were expected to be among the best teams in the American League. The Houston Astros, however, were not, yet they own the best record in the league.
The Astros try to continue their surprising start on Thursday in the opener of a four-game series from Comerica Park.
Houston continued to roll on Wednesday, as Dallas Keuchel tossed seven strong innings, and Evan Gattis' two-run home run proved vital in the Astros' 6-1 win over the Oakland Athletics .
Keuchel (6-0) won his eighth consecutive decision dating back to 2014 and lowered his league-leading ERA to 1.67 when he yielded just one unearned run on six hits and two walks in seven innings with four strikeouts.
Chris Carter also drove in two runs, and George Springer had two hits to help the Astros win for the seventh time in eight tries.
Hoping to duplicate Keuchel's brilliant effort this afternoon will be veteran Scott Feldman, who is 3-4 with a 5.06 ERA. Feldman defeated Toronto on Saturday, as he held the Blue Jays to three runs - all in the first inning - and five hits in 6 2/3 innings. He also struck out a season-high 10 batters in the win.
"I can't say enough positive things about what Feldman did mentally and physically tonight," Houston manager A.J. Hinch said. "To have a first inning like that, control the damage the best he could. He had some good approaches against them.
"To have a three-run first inning, it's easy to shut it down and consider it a bad game. All he did was the opposite."
Feldman has faced the Tigers 12 times (6 starts) and is 1-3 against them with a 7.34 ERA.
Detroit, meanwhile, avoided a three-game sweep at the hands of the lowly Milwaukee Brewers on Wednesday, as Nick Castellanos finished with four RBI and clubbed a go-ahead three-run triple in the eighth inning to lift the Tigers to a 5-2 win.
Yoenis Cespedes went 3-for-3 with two runs scored and J.D. Martinez supplied two hits and scored twice for the Tigers, who ended a three-game skid.
Blaine Hardy (2-0) earned the win after recording the final out of the eighth. Starter Shane Greene gave up two runs on three hits with six strikeouts over 6 1/3 frames.
On Thursday, Detroit will hand the ball to lefty David Price, who is 3-1 with a 3.40 ERA. Price did not get a decision on Saturday in St. Louis, as he surrendered three runs and seven hits over 6 2/3 innings of his team's 4-3 win.
Price is 3-2 in five starts versus the Astros with a 2.92 ERA.
Detroit was 4-3 against the Astros last season.