American League Preview from The Sports Network
Tuesday, May 14th (All times Eastern)
Houston Astros (10-29) at Detroit Tigers (21-15), 7:08 p.m.
Probable Starting Pitchers: Houston - Lucas Harrell (3-3, 4.67) Detroit - Doug Fister (4-1, 3.14)
(Sports Network) - As if suffering a fifth straight defeat in Monday's opener with the Detroit Tigers wasn't enough, the Houston Astros also lost a pair of key contributors to injury.
The Astros attempt to rebound on Tuesday against the AL Central-leading Tigers in the continuation of a three-game series.
Houston was looking to avenge a four-game home sweep at the hands of Detroit from May 2-5, but instead dropped a 7-2 decision thanks to a big fourth inning by the Tigers.
Victor Martinez set the tone in the frame with a two-run homer and Houston starter Bud Norris followed by allowing two singles and a walk before hanging an 0-2 breaking ball to Andy Dirks, who promptly deposited the ball over the wall for his first career grand slam.
"It was the worst 0-2 pitch I've made in my career," Norris said afterward.
Norris allowed seven runs on nine hits before exiting prior to the start of the sixth inning due to back spasms. He felt the pain following his first warm-up pitch of the frame.
Houston also lost second baseman Jose Altuve to a dislocated right jaw suffered in the second frame when he collided with right fielder Jimmy Paredes while going after a fly ball. An All-Star last season, Altuve is batting .333 through 38 games this year.
The Astros have lost 11 of their last 13 games overall as well as six straight and 11 of its last 14 to the Tigers.
While Houston owns the worst record in baseball at 10-29, Detroit's victory moved it a half game ahead of the Cleveland Indians for the top spot in the AL Central. The Tigers had dropped four of five coming into the series.
Dirks hit leadoff in place of Austin Jackson, who landed on the disabled list earlier Monday due to a strained right hamstring. He finished with three hits and also scored twice to lift his season average 21 points to .260.
Anibal Sanchez gave up two runs on six hits and a walk over seven innings en route to a victory and seventh straight quality start for the Tigers.
"My pitches were working well today," Sanchez said. "I just tried to throw strikes."
The Astros have not won in Detroit since July 14, 2000 and hope tonight's starter Lucas Harrell can have better luck tonight versus Detroit than when he faced them just over a week ago.
The right-hander turned in one of his worst outings of the season in that May 4 meeting. He was banged around for eight runs, 10 hits and four walks over 4 1/3 innings of a 17-2 loss, snapping a personal three-start win streak for Harrell.
"They just placed the ball in the right spot. It was just one of those days where even when you make a good pitch, they still get a hit," Harrell said.
Miguel Cabrera went 2-for-2 with a homer, four RBI and a walk versus Harrell and finished the game 4-for-4 with a pair of home runs and six RBI. Martinez drove in two of his four runs in the game against the Houston starter and Torii Hunter finished the contest with four hits and two RBI.
Harrell was a bit sharper in a no-decision versus the L.A. Angels of Anaheim on Thursday as he allowed only a pair of runs -- one earned -- in five innings despite four hits and six walks. The 27-year-old said he was able to fix a mechanical flaw during the game to finish strong.
Harrell is 3-3 on the year with a 4.67 earned run average in eight starts.
Taking mound for the Tigers will be Doug Fister, who carried a four-decision winning streak into his first career start versus the Astros on May 3. However, the righty did not factor into a 4-3 win after yielding three runs -- two earned -- on a season-high nine hits over six innings.
He then lost for the first time this season on Thursday, getting charged with five runs -- four earned -- on eight hits over just three innings of a 5-4 decision at the Washington Nationals.
Fister, 29, fell to 4-1 on the year with a 3.14 ERA.
05/14 10:32:30 ET