By DANA GAURUDER, Sports Xchange
DETROIT -- Andy Dirks hit a grand slam in the fourth and Victor Martinez blasted a go-ahead, two-run homer earlier in the same inning as the Detroit Tigers defeated the Houston Astros 7-2 at Comerica Park on Monday.
Anibal Sanchez (4-3) gave up two runs and struck out eight in seven innings, his fourth consecutive start with at least eight strikeouts. Dirks had three hits and scored twice, and Torii Hunter added a run-scoring double. Miguel Cabrera's 11-game hitting streak ended, but the Tigers snapped a two-game losing streak.
Astros starter Bud Norris (4-4) gave up seven runs and left the game with lower back spasms while warming up for the sixth. Houston has lost five straight and is 0-5 against Detroit this season.
Houston lost its top offensive threat, second baseman Jose Altuve, in the second inning. Altuve suffered a subluxed right jaw when he collided with right fielder Jimmy Paredes chasing a Jhonny Peralta fly ball, which bounced off Paredes for a single.
Martinez put the Tigers on top with his two-run homer in the fourth off Norris. He ripped a high fastball into the right-field stands for his second homer of the season after Prince Fielder led off with a double. Later in the inning, Dirks blasted a hanging breaking pitch on an 0-2 count over the right-field wall for his first career grand slam to make it 7-2.
The Tigers took a quick lead in the first inning. Dirks hit a leadoff double over center fielder Robbie Grossman, and Hunter hit another double that bounced off the base of the wall 420 feet from home plate. Norris minimized the damaged by getting Cabrera, Fielder and Martinez to ground out.
Aggressive base running helped the Astros take a 2-1 lead in the third. Marwin Gonzalez led off with a single, stole second and scored on Grossman's single. Grossman took second on the throw home, advanced to third on a Paredes single, then scored on Ronny Cedeno's groundout after Paredes stole second.
NOTES: Detroit center fielder Austin Jackson was placed on the 15-day disabled list, retroactive to Sunday, with a right hamstring pull. He was batting .272 with two homers and 11 RBIs. Avisail Garcia, who batted .432 in eight games with Triple-A Toledo, replaced Jackson on the active roster. ... Houston manager Bo Porter was surprised that the club's president and CEO since 2011, George Postolos, abruptly resigned on Monday. "I was shocked," Porter said. "I found out the same time everybody else found out. I don't know what led to his resignation but those things happen in sports." ... Cabrera had a major-league best 55 hits entering the game, the most by a Tigers player through 35 games since Harvey Kuenn had 56 in 1955. ... The Astros' last win in Detroit was a 9-4 victory on July 14, 2000. ... Houston's average age of 27.0 makes it the youngest team in the majors.