Verlander, Tigers continue to make life miserable for Astros
Houston, TX (Sports Network) - Justin Verlander struck out nine over seven stellar innings of two-hit ball, as the Detroit Tigers pounded the Houston Astros, 9-0, to complete a four-game sweep Sunday at Minute Maid Park.
Verlander (4-2) worked around a pair of walks and carried a no-hitter into the seventh before serving up consecutive one-out singles to Carlos Pena and Carlos Corporan. The right-hander escaped the frame unscathed by inducing an inning-ending, double-play groundout from Brandon Laird.
Detroit's offense provided Verlander with plenty of run support, as the Tigers tallied four home runs, with Prince Fielder and Brayan Pena each belting two- run shots, and Andy Dirks and Omar Infante adding a solo shot apiece.
Fielder finished with four RBI, while Dirks went 4-for-4 with two RBI and three runs scored for the Tigers, who recorded their first four-game sweep on the road since taking four straight from the Kansas City Royals from May 22-25, 2006 at Kauffman Stadium.
Houston starter Philip Humber (0-7) was shelled for eight runs on eight hits and three walks over four frames for the Astros, who have lost six straight and 10 of their last 11 games.
"There is a lack of attack of the strike zone, which gets him behind in the count. When you do that against Miguel Cabrera, Torii Hunter, Prince Fielder, these guys are All-Stars for a reason," Astros manager Bo Porter said of Humber.
Fielder's two-out, two-run blast in the first staked the Tigers to a 2-0 lead before the visitors struck for five runs in the second to seize control.
Don Kelly started the rally with a walk and Brayan Pena followed with a line- drive shot into the first row in right field to double Detroit's lead.
Ramon Santiago doubled two batters later and after Austin Jackson walked, Dirks singled to right to plate Santiago. Miguel Cabrera then worked a free pass before Fielder scorched a single to right to score Jackson and Dirks for a 7-0 lead.
Dirks then led off the fourth with a homer to right before Infante launched a leadoff blast into the left-field seats in the eighth to make it 9-0.
Verlander, meanwhile, worked around a two-out walk in the first and then again in the fourth to stymie Houston's offense.
Marwin Gonzalez reached on an error to start the sixth, but Verlander got Robbie Grossman to line into a double play to clear the bases before Carlos Pena ended the right-hander's no-hit bid in the seventh.
"I threw a fastball, and he did a great job of getting on top of the fastball that was up in the zone," Verlander said of Pena's hit.
Detroit outscored Houston, 37-8, during this four-game series ... Verlander's nine strikeouts gave him 1,504 for his career ... Houston wore "Los Astros" jerseys in recognition of Cinco de Mayo.
05/05 21:33:06 ET