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Houston at Detroit

Venue: Comerica Park
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The Detroit Tigers' Anibal Sanchez owns one of the AL's best ERA's but has had trouble getting consistent run support.

Judging by his career numbers against the lowly Houston Astros, the right-hander might not need too much help in Monday night's series opener in Detroit.

Sanchez (3-3, 1.97 ERA) has allowed three runs or fewer in each of his seven starts but has received a combined three runs from the Tigers (20-15) in his three defeats. He's taken two of those losses in his two outings this month, the latest a 3-1 setback at Washington on Wednesday.

Sanchez pitched at least six innings for the sixth straight time and fanned eight, keeping him among the AL leaders with 58 strikeouts in 45 2-3 innings.

If he can get some better support, Sanchez would appear to have a good chance to avoid a third straight loss. He's 3-1 with a 2.08 ERA in seven career starts against the Astros and had a 1.38 ERA in two matchups last season while with Miami.

Houston (10-28) heads into this game with the worst record in the majors and with 11 losses in its last 12 road games. The Astros are 3-14 overall since April 24 and were outscored 37-8 during a four-game sweep by Detroit from May 2-5 in Houston.

The Tigers could use another such set of performances after dropping four of five. Jose Valverde gave up a one-run lead in the ninth inning Sunday against Cleveland - his first blown save since returning to Detroit - and Darin Downs yielded another run in the extra frame in a 4-3 loss.

That defeat gave Detroit back-to-back losses at Comerica Park, where it had won six of seven.

"It's going to happen, because we are human," catcher Brayan Pena said. "Valverde's our closer, and we're very happy to have him, and he's one of those guys that tomorrow is going to be back on the mound and see what happens."

The Astros' most effective starter, Bud Norris (4-3, 3.40), will try to help add to that skid while winning in back-to-back outings for the first time in 2013. He gave up one run and scattered nine hits over eight innings in Wednesday's 3-1 victory over the Los Angeles Angels.

"I really hope that the rest of the starters take heed of what can happen when you attack the strike zone," manager Bo Porter said. "We have a pretty good defense, and when you make the other team feel like they have to swing early in the count (and) put the ball in play (and) allow our defense to play, we get starts like we got tonight from Bud Norris."

The right-hander allowed two runs over seven innings in his only start against Detroit on May 3, but the Astros bullpen blew a one-run lead in the ninth in a 4-3 loss.

Miguel Cabrera had the only extra-base hit off Norris in that game, a double, and his hit streak has now grown to 11 games. Cabrera, who is batting .404 with 14 RBIs during his current run, was 8 for 17 (.471) with two homers and seven RBIs in the four games in Houston.

Cabrera wasn't with the Tigers during the most recent visit from Houston, a three-game Detroit sweep June 26-28, 2006.

Copyright 2014 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
 
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Probable Starters

Bud Norris, RHP
2013 stats
45.0 Innings Pitched 45.2
4-3 Wins-Losses 3-3
3.40 Earned Run Average 1.97
17 Walks 11
31 Strikeouts 58
95 Pitches Per Start 107
Career vs. opponent
7.0 Innings Pitched 43.1
0-0 Wins-Losses 3-1
2.57 Earned Run Average 2.08

Anibal Sanchez, RHP
Weather
weather image  Mostly sunny. Cool.
Hi TempLo TempWindHumidityPrecip %
55°F34°F8mph/NW32%12%
Standings
TeamStandingsWLPct.GBL 10Strk
Houston4th AL West6783.447276-4 W 2
Detroit1st AL Central8466.560-7-3 W 4
BATTER VS. PITCHER (Career)
vs Anibal Sanchez
PlayerABHHRBBSOAVG
Gonzalez110001.000
Cedeno31101.333
Pena103123.300
Altuve72000.286
Castro82003.250
 
BATTER VS. PITCHER (Career)
vs Bud Norris
PlayerABHHRBBSOAVG
Peralta21011.500
Cabrera31001.333
Martinez31000.333
Infante123001.250
Fielder205136.250
 

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Game Odds
AwayLineHomeLine
Houston 240 Detroit -280
Injuries
Houston
PlayerInjury
M. AlbersShoulder
J. CisneroElbow
J. CrainBiceps, calf
C. McHughForearm
B. PeacockBack
G. SpringerKnee, quadriceps
J. ZeidFoot
Detroit
PlayerInjury
A. AvilaHead
A. DirksBack
J. HanrahanElbow
J. IglesiasShin
P. McCoyHamstring
L. PutkonenElbow
B. RondonElbow
A. SanchezPectoral
J. VerlanderThumb
 
Series Game Log
DateatResult/TimeWinnerLoser
Apr 25MINDET 10-6Porcello Correia 
Apr 26MINMIN 5-3Hughes Ortega 
Apr 27MINPPD   
May 9DETMIN 2-1Hughes Verlander 
May 10DETDET 9-3Scherzer Gibson 
May 11DETMIN 4-3Burton Chamberlain 
Jun 13DETMIN 2-0Gibson Smyly 
Jun 14DETDET 12-9Sanchez Deduno 
Jun 15DETDET 4-3Nathan Fien 
Aug 22MINMIN 20-6Pressly Ray 
Aug 23MINMIN 12-4Pino Farmer 
Aug 23MINDET 8-6Verlander May 
Aug 24MINDET 13-4Scherzer Gibson 
Sep 15MINDET 8-6Ryan Fien 
Sep 16MIN 8:10 PM EDT  
Sep 17MIN 8:10 PM EDT  
Sep 25DET 7:08 PM EDT  
Sep 26DET 7:08 PM EDT  
Sep 27DET 7:08 PM EDT  
Sep 28DET 1:08 PM EDT