By NOAH TRISTER/AP Baseball Writer
DETROIT (AP) – Miguel Cabrera homered, Doug Fister pitched seven impressive innings and Andy Dirks gave the Tigers a lift for a second straight night in Detroit’s 6-2 victory over the Houston Astros on Tuesday.
Dirks hit a grand slam in Monday’s 7-2 win over Houston, and a night later he capped a three-run fifth with a tiebreaking double. The Tigers added two more runs in the sixth, and Cabrera hit his eighth homer of the year in the seventh, a solo shot that gave Detroit a 6-2 lead.
Fister (5-1) allowed two runs and five hits. He struck out seven without a walk.
Lucas Harrell (3-4) allowed five runs and seven hits in five-plus innings. The Astros have lost six straight and 16 of 19.
Harrell was impressive for the first four innings but couldn’t hold off the Tigers, even on a night when Ramon Santiago was filling in for shortstop Jhonny Peralta and Don Kelly was in center field in place of injured Austin Jackson.
Kelly was hitting .200 entering the game, but his RBI single in the fifth got the Tigers on the scoreboard. Santiago, who was hitting .154 coming in, drove in Kelly with a tying double for his first RBI of the year.
Dirks put Detroit ahead 3-2 with a double to right-center that bounced over the tallest section of the Comerica Park wall. The Tigers added two more runs in the sixth on an RBI single by Victor Martinez and a wild pitch by reliever Travis Blackley that allowed Prince Fielder to score.
Detroit has won all six matchups with the Astros this season, by a combined 50-12. This one was more competitive than Harrell’s previous start against the Tigers, which Detroit won 17-2 earlier this month.
Houston was without standout second baseman Jose Altuve, who went on the bereavement list Tuesday following the death of his grandmother.
The Astros had turned a major league-high 52 double plays entering Tuesday’s game, and they added two more to that total in the first four innings. Houston took the lead in the second when J.D. Martinez hit an RBI double and Jimmy Paredes added a sacrifice fly.
But Fister retired 12 in a row after a third-inning single by Jake Elmore. He gave up a double to J.D. Martinez in the seventh but struck out the next two hitters to finish his night on a high note.
Cabrera’s homer sailed deep into the seats in left field. Martinez, the left fielder, stared into the crowd for several seconds in apparent disbelief after the ball cleared the fence.
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