Detroit, MI – Andy Dirks was quite productive atop the Tigers' lineup, going 3-for-4 with a grand slam to lead Detroit past the Houston Astros, 7-2, in the opener of a three-game series at Comerica Park.
Dirks, batting leadoff with Austin Jackson on the disabled list, cranked his first career grand slam in a six-run fourth inning that also featured Victor Martinez's two-run homer.
Anibal Sanchez (4-3) gave up two runs on six hits and a walk over seven innings en route to a seventh straight quality start for the Tigers, who had lost four of five coming in.
"My pitches were working well today," Sanchez said. "I just tried to throw strikes."
Bud Norris (4-4) was pulled after five forgettable innings as Houston dropped its fifth straight and 11th in its last 13 games. Robbie Grossman went 2-for-4 with an RBI and a run scored in the setback.
Norris, who had given up three earned runs or less in seven of his first eight starts, was staked to a 2-1 lead before becoming undone in the fourth.
Prince Fielder led off with a double and Martinez followed with a his second home run of the season -- a line drive that ended up in the first row of seats in right field.
Two singles and a walk loaded the bases for Dirks, and Norris hung an 0-2 breaking ball that Dirks smashed halfway up the right-field bleachers for a 7-2 Tigers cushion.
"It was the worst 0-2 pitch I've made in my career," Norris said afterwards.
Norris left with lower back spasms and was charged with seven runs on nine hits, while the Astros' offense only had one runner reach past first base after the third inning.
Dirks opened the home first with a two-bagger and scored when Torii Hunter doubled off the foot of the wall in center field.
Houston, which suffered a four-game sweep against the Tigers earlier this month, took a short-lived lead in the third. Marwin Gonzalez singled to start the inning, stole second and scored on Grossman's RBI single, and Ronny Cedeno added a run-scoring groundout later in the frame.
Astros second baseman Jose Altuve exited in the second inning when he collided with right fielder Jimmy Paredes going after a fly ball and suffered a subluxed right jaw ... Norris saw his ERA rise from 3.40 to 4.32 ... Jackson landed on the DL Monday with a pulled right hamstring ... Sanchez struck out eight and improved to 4-1 in eight career starts against the Astros.