Detroit, MI (Sports Network) - 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
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.
The Sports Network