Detroit, MI (WKZO) – When it was announced on Monday that Austin Jackson would be placed on the DL with a pulled hamstring, the question on all Tigers fans minds was who would step up and fill the void at the top of the lineup. That question was answered pretty quickly by Andy Dirks.
For the second straight day Dirks was atop the Tigers’ lineup and after finishing just a triple away from the cycle it looks like he’ll stay there until Jackson is ready to come back. Dirks doubled in the first, singled in the third and capped off a six run fourth inning with his first career grand slam as the Tigers continued their dominance over the Houston Astros with a 7-2 victory in the first game of a three game series.
Anibal Sanchez gave up two early runs – both earned – but settled down, striking out eight over seven innings of work for his fourth win of the year. Sanchez gave up six hits and issued only one walk and has seven straight quality starts.
Victor Martinez got the scoring going for the Tigers in the fourth after he followed up a Prince Fielder double with a two run bomb to right field, his second home run of the year, to regain the lead for the Tigers 3-2. Then Jhonny Peralta and Don Kelly each followed with singles and Omar Infante walked to load the bases before Dirks hit the grand slam.
Bud Norris took the loss for Houston, allowing seven runs and nine hits in five innings before leaving with lower back spasms.
*After Dirks opened the first with a double, Torii Hunter followed with a double of his own, scoring Dirks for an early 1-0 Tigers lead.
*Sanchez’s 113th and final pitch came to Marwin Gonzalez, who grounded into a double play ending the Astros’ half of the seventh.
*Jose Ortega pitched a scoreless eighth and ninth and has yet to allow a run in 6.1 innings since being called up from Toledo on May 1.
*Both Astros runs came in the third off Sanchez when Houston opened the inning with three straight hits.
*In the bottom of the third with a hit and run called, Jhonny Peralta was doubled up off first after Don Kelly hit a liner to Astros’ left fielder J.D. Martinez. Peralta was far enough off first for an easy throw from Martinez to pick off Peralta ending the inning.
*With Peralta on first in the bottom of the sixth, Omar Infante grounded into a double play ending the inning.
Game Notes: Astros second baseman Jose Altuve and right fielder Jimmy Paredes collided going after a shallow fly ball. Altuve was taken out of the game with a dislocated jaw….Miguel Cabrera’s 11 game hitting streak ended as he failed to reach base in four plate appearances…Jhonny Peralta reached base three times (two hits and a walk)…Doug Fister (4-1, 3.14 ERA) looks for his fifth win vs. Astros’ righty Lucas Harrell (3-3, 4.67). Harrell gave up eight runs in 4.1 innings on May 4th against the Tigers in Houston.