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Tigers-Astros Preview 5-4-13

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Alex Avila #13 of the Detroit Tigers and Prince Fielder #28 of the Detroit Tigers celebrate after defeating the Houston Astros 4-3 at Minute Maid Park on May 3, 2013 in Houston, Texas. Avila's two-run home run in the ninth inning was the winning hit. (Credit: Bob Levey/Getty Images)

Alex Avila #13 of the Detroit Tigers and Prince Fielder #28 of the Detroit Tigers celebrate after defeating the Houston Astros 4-3 at Minute Maid Park on May 3, 2013 in Houston, Texas. Avila’s two-run home run in the ninth inning was the winning hit. (Credit: Bob Levey/Getty Images)

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A four-game series against the team with the worst record in the AL has done very little to slow down the Detroit Tigers.

Facing Lucas Harrell, however, just might.

The Tigers look to make it three straight against the Houston Astros on Saturday night and prevent Harrell from winning a fourth consecutive start.

Detroit (17-11) has won seven of eight, hitting .294 with 12 homers and averaging 6.0 runs while the pitchers have a 2.57 ERA.

That stretch includes a 7-3, 14-inning win over Houston (8-22) on Thursday before Alex Avila’s two-run homer in the ninth provided the difference in a 4-3 victory a day later.

Avila has homered on each of his last two hits in 10 at-bats over the past three games. He’s 3 for 22 over his last seven and hitting .179 on the season.

“Hopefully that will get him going, get some confidence going,” manager Jim Leyland said. “That was a big one.”

The Tigers’ confidence may be in for an unexpectedly big test against Harrell (3-2, 3.60 ERA), who has been credited with the Astros’ only two wins over the past 10 games.

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