DETROIT (AP) - Jose Altuve and Bud Norris have been among the few bright spots for Houston this season.
Now they're both dealing with injuries - although manager Bo Porter doesn't believe there's too much to worry about.
Altuve, the standout second baseman, left Monday night's 7-2 loss to the Detroit Tigers with a jaw injury, and Norris' start ended after five innings because of lower back spasms. Andy Dirks hit a grand slam for Detroit, part of a six-run fourth inning for the Tigers.
``Altuve came out for precautionary reasons, and he's already told me that he's playing (Tuesday),' Porter said. ``Norris wanted to stay out there, but we'll see how he feels in the next day or two. That's always the question when it comes to back injuries.'
Victor Martinez also homered for the Tigers, who swept four straight from the Astros in Houston earlier this month and opened this three-game series at Comerica Park with another convincing victory.
Anibal Sanchez (4-3) allowed two runs and six hits in seven innings for the Tigers. He struck out eight with one walk.
Norris (4-4) gave up seven runs and nine hits in five innings before leaving with back problems.
``It happened really quick. I was fine, and I threw my first warmup pitch and it immediately grabbed up on me,' Norris said. ``I tried to throw a couple more, and it just didn't get any better.'
Detroit trailed 2-1 when Martinez hit a two-run homer in the fourth to give the Tigers the lead. They weren't done. Jhonny Peralta and Don Kelly both singled with one out, and after a walk to Omar Infante, Dirks hit a drive over the wall in right field to make it 7-2.
Norris said it was a hanging slider.
``It was the worst 0-2 pitch of my career,' he lamented.
The pitch looked just fine to Dirks.
``I liked it,' he said. ``It's just one of those things in baseball. He didn't mean to leave a pitch over the plate like that, and I was fortunate enough to be on time with it and hit it.'
Dirks also doubled in the first inning and finished a triple shy of the cycle - a fine performance in the leadoff spot after Austin Jackson went on the disabled list earlier in the day. Jackson, Detroit's center fielder and leadoff hitter, has a pulled left hamstring.
Torii Hunter's double in the first scored Dirks to give the Tigers a 1-0 lead. Altuve left in the second after colliding with right fielder Jimmy Paredes on a popup.
``On a play like that, the infielder's only job is to go catch the ball,' Porter said. ``The outfielder either needs to call him off or get out of the way. I haven't talked to Paredes yet, because we can't hear anything in the dugout, but I'll ask him what happened.'
Houston scored a couple of runs in the third to take the lead. Marwin Gonzalez singled and stole second, then scored on a single by Robbie Grossman.
Ronny Cedeno, who came into the game when Altuve left, added an RBI groundout.
But Norris, who has pitched well so far amid Houston's struggles, couldn't hold onto the lead, and his start was cut short. He left the game after a conference at the mound at the start of the Detroit sixth.
Martinez's homer was his second of the year after he missed all of 2012 with a knee injury.
The Tigers have outscored Houston 44-10 in five games this year.
NOTES: Detroit slugger Miguel Cabrera had his hitting streak snapped at 11 games. ... Tigers RHP Doug Fister (4-1) takes the mound Tuesday night against Houston RHP Lucas Harrell (3-3).
The Associated Press News Service
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