Astros-Tigers Preview

Anibal Sanchez has struggled at home, where he gave up three straight homers in his last outing.

Up next for him is the team that leads the majors in longballs.

Sanchez has an excellent record, however, against the Houston Astros as he tries to help the Detroit Tigers capture a four-game set Sunday.

Sanchez (3-5, 5.60 ERA) fell to 1-3 with a 7.57 ERA in his last five home starts after allowing seven runs over 3 2-3 innings in Tuesday's 8-1 defeat to Milwaukee. He surrendered consecutive homers to Ryan Braun, Adam Lind and Aramis Ramirez in the third.

The right-hander has allowed nine homers in 54 2-3 innings after giving up four in 126 in 2014.

"It's been clearly something that is uncharacteristic for Sanchie. Long ball wasn't an issue last year, but this year it's been a little bit of a different story now," manager Brad Ausmus said.

Houston (28-16) has homered 62 times, though it hasn't connected in its last 20 innings in this series. Sanchez is 4-1 with a 2.15 ERA in eight career starts against the Astros, who he didn't face last year.

Colby Rasmus has faced Sanchez the most among Houston hitters, going 4 for 19 with a homer and 11 strikeouts. Jason Castro has two doubles in 11 at-bats and Jose Altuve is 2 for 8 in this matchup.

Detroit (26-18) had its three-game win streak snapped with a 3-2 loss Saturday, with Ian Kinsler hitting into a triple play in the fifth inning with the Tigers ahead by one. The Astros responded with the go-ahead runs in the sixth.

''I'm thinking we're in trouble,'' Astros manager A.J. Hinch said. ''We had no outs, we had the bullpen getting ready, so we had a lot of action going.''

The sloppy game featured three total errors and a wild pitch by Houston starter Lance McCullers when he was issuing an intentional walk.

Tigers shortstop Jose Iglesias bruised his left knee and exited after the fifth inning, with Hernan Perez replacing him. Iglesias, second on the team with a .333 average, is day to day.

Miguel Cabrera is batting .415 during an 11-game hitting streak, going 5 for 10 with three walks and three strikeouts in this series. Former Astros outfielder J.D. Martinez has hit safely in 13 of his last 14 games with a .373 average.

Altuve is hitless in his last 10 at-bats and has seen his average dip to .294. It has fallen below .300 this weekend for the first time since he was at .297 on April 22.

Houston starter Roberto Hernandez (2-3, 3.99) is a familiar nemesis to Detroit from his days with Cleveland from 2006-12. He is 8-6 with a 4.10 ERA in 18 career starts against the Tigers.

Cabrera is a .359 hitter with three homers in 39 at-bats off the right-hander. Rajai Davis is 9 for 21 off Hernandez and Yoenis Cespedes has two doubles in as many at-bats.

Hernandez allowed two runs in six innings Tuesday to earn a 6-4 home win over Oakland. He pitched at least six innings for the seventh straight outing.


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