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Dirks' first career grand slam leads Tigers past Astros

CBSSports.com wire reports
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DETROIT -- Batting leadoff because of an injury to Austin Jackson, Detroit's Andy Dirks hit a drive to center field for a double in his first at-bat.

Three innings later, the 27-year-old outfielder made an even better impression.

Dirks hit his first career grand slam, part of a six-run fourth for the Tigers in their 7-2 victory over the Houston Astros on Monday night. He was at the top of the lineup because Jackson went on the disabled list earlier in the day with a pulled left hamstring.

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"I've hit leadoff in college and I've hit leadoff in the big leagues and in the minor leagues," Dirks said. "It's really nothing different. The way I approach it, I just try to get on base for the big guys."

In the fourth, Dirks came to the plate in a good RBI situation -- bases loaded and one out. He drove an 0-2 pitch to right field for his fourth homer of the year.

Houston starter Bud Norris said it was a hanging slider.

"It was the worst 0-2 pitch of my career," he lamented.

The pitch looked just fine to Dirks.

"I liked it," he said. "It's just one of those things in baseball. He didn't mean to leave a pitch over the plate like that, and I was fortunate enough to be on time with it and hit it."

Victor Martinez also homered for the Tigers, who swept four straight from the Astros in Houston earlier this month and opened this three-game series at Comerica Park with another convincing victory.

Anibal Sanchez (4-3) allowed two runs and six hits in seven innings for Detroit. He struck out eight with one walk.

"I feel good," Sanchez said. "My pitches were working good today. I just had a bad inning. That's part of the game."

Houston scored two runs off Sanchez in the third, shortly after Astros second baseman Jose Altuve left the game with a jaw injury following a collision with right fielder Jimmy Paredes on a popup. Norris (4-4) left with lower back spasms after allowing seven runs and nine hits in five innings.

"Altuve came out for precautionary reasons, and he's already told me that he's playing tomorrow," Houston manager Bo Porter said. "Norris wanted to stay out there, but we'll see how he feels in the next day or two. That's always the question when it comes to back injuries."

Houston has lost five straight and 15 of 18.

Detroit trailed 2-1 when Martinez hit a two-run homer in the fourth to give the Tigers the lead. They weren't done. Jhonny Peralta and Don Kelly both singled with one out, and after a walk to Omar Infante, Dirks hit his home run.

Dirks finished with three hits.

Torii Hunter's double in the first scored Dirks to give the Tigers a 1-0 lead. Altuve left the game after colliding with Paredes, but Houston scored a couple of runs in the third to take the lead. Marwin Gonzalez singled and stole second, then scored on a single by Robbie Grossman.

Ronny Cedeno, who came into the game when Altuve left, added an RBI groundout.

But Norris, who has pitched well so far amid Houston's struggles, couldn't hold onto the lead, and his start was cut short by back problems. He left the game after a conference at the mound at the start of the Detroit sixth.

Martinez's homer was his second of the year after he missed all of 2012 with a knee injury.

The Tigers have outscored Houston 44-10 in five games this year.

Notes

  • Detroit slugger Miguel Cabrera had his hitting streak snapped at 11 games.
  • Tigers RHP Doug Fister (4-1) takes the mound Tuesday night against Houston RHP Lucas Harrell (3-3).
 
Copyright 2015 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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Andy Dirks watches the ball leave the ballpark for his first career grand slam in the fourth inning of the Tigers' win. (USATSI)
Andy Dirks watches the ball leave the ballpark for his first career grand slam in the fourth inning of the Tigers' win. (USATSI)

Players of the Game
Detroit

A. Dirks
AB 4
R 2
H 3
HR 1
RBI 4
Detroit

A. Sanchez
IP 7.0
H 6
ER 2
BB 1
K 8
 

Related Video

Houston Astros
HittersABRHRBIBBSOLOBAVG
Robbie Grossman, CF4121000 .211
Jimmy Paredes, RF3010100 .200
Jose Altuve, 2B1000001 .333
    Ronny Cedeno, SS2001011 .281
Jason Castro, C4000013 .248
Chris Carter, 1B4000031 .221
Carlos Pena, DH4010020 .230
J.D. Martinez, LF4020001 .222
Matt Dominguez, 3B4000013 .256
Marwin Gonzalez, SS-2B3110001 .269
Totals3327218  
Batting
2B - J.D. Martinez (5, Sanchez)
RBI - Robbie Grossman (3), Ronny Cedeno (9)
SB - Jimmy Paredes (1, 2nd base off Sanchez/Avila), Marwin Gonzalez (4, 2nd base off Sanchez/Avila)
Team LOB - 6
Fielding
Outfield Assists - J.D. Martinez 1
DP - Martinez-Carter, Cedeno-M. Gonzalez-Carter
Houston Astros
PitchersIPHRERBBSOHRERA
Bud Norris (L,4-4) 5977122 4.32
Paul Clemens 3000130 4.15
Pitches-Strikes - Bud Norris 71-47, Paul Clemens 37-23
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Bud Norris 8-4, Paul Clemens 4-1
Batters Faced - Bud Norris 24, Paul Clemens 9
Detroit Tigers
HittersABRHRBIBBSOLOBAVG
Andy Dirks, LF4234000 .260
Torii Hunter, RF4011011 .333
Miguel Cabrera, 3B4000022 .369
Prince Fielder, 1B4110011 .289
Victor Martinez, DH4112001 .213
Alex Avila, C4000010 .190
Jhonny Peralta, SS2120100 .326
Don Kelly, CF3110002 .200
Omar Infante, 2B2100101 .312
Totals3179725  
Batting
2B - Andy Dirks (2, Norris), Torii Hunter (11, Norris), Prince Fielder (9, Norris)
HR - Andy Dirks (4, Norris), Victor Martinez (2, Norris)
RBI - Andy Dirks 4 (12), Torii Hunter (19), Victor Martinez 2 (17)
Team LOB - 2
Fielding
DP - Cabrera-Infante-Fielder
Detroit Tigers
PitchersIPHRERBBSOHRERA
Anibal Sanchez (W,4-3) 7622180 2.05
Jose Ortega 2100000 0.00
HBP - Cedeno (by Jose Ortega)
Pitches-Strikes - Anibal Sanchez 113-77, Jose Ortega 32-19
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Anibal Sanchez 9-3, Jose Ortega 3-3
Batters Faced - Anibal Sanchez 27, Jose Ortega 8
Game Information
Attendance - 31161
Game Time - 2:50
Temperature - 54
Umpires - Home - Jim Joyce, First Base - Cory Blaser, Second Base - Jeff Nelson, Third Base - Ed Hickox