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Astros Blowout Tigers 10-3


The Houston Astros are finding interleague play much more to their liking this year.

Moises Alou and Carl Everett each had three RBIs and Pete Schourek pitched seven solid innings as the Astros completed a three-game sweep of the Detroit Tigers with a 10-3 victory Wednesday night.

Everett went 4-for-5 with a two-run double and Alou hit a two-run homer in the Astros' fifth straight win.

Houston, 4-11 against AL teams last year, are 5-1 in their last six games against Kansas City and Detroit.

"It's nice to have some success against American League teams so I don't have to answer those questions about it all the time," Astros manager Larry Dierker said. "It seems like we weren't playing well when we played American League teams last year but this year we are."

The Astros remained atop the NL Central and now play their next 10 games against division rivals.

"This was a big series," said Schourek, who allowed one run and four hits, with four strikeouts and no walks. "Now we go back and play some Central Division foes on a roll."

Joe Oliver homered for the Tigers, who have lost nine of 11 to fall a season-worst 15 games under .500 (23-38).

"They kicked us when we were down, and that's what a good team does," Tigers outfielder Kimera Bartee said. "It was a very frustrating series."

Schourek (3-4), who had lost four of his previous five starts, retired the first 12 batters he faced.

"I'm getting more comfortable with my mechanics and the locations of my pitches, and with that comes confidence," he said.

Frank Castillo (2-5) had another terrible start for the Tigers, allowing five runs on just two hits in two-plus innings. He struck out two, walked two and hit two batters.

Castillo, who has lost four straight decisions since his last win May 15, has an 11.29 ERA after nine starts.

"His velocity is there, but his command isn't," Tigers manager Buddy Bell said. "His stuff isn't that bad, but it doesn't matter how hard you throw. When you can't throw it where you want it, it doesn't mean anything."

Houston, which used a pair of big ninth-inning rallies to beat Detroit the previous two nights, opened a 10-0 lead off Castillo and reliever A.J. Sager after just four innings.

"Tonight was a lot easier, of course," Dierker said. "I was pleased with Schourek's work and the hitters, as much for their patience as for their hitting."

Everett batted .571 (8-for-14) with seven RBIs in the series to boost his season average to .351.

"This is the first year I've really been given the chance to go out and play every day," Everett said. "I'm just thankful for the chance."

The Astros already had a 2-0 lad before adding five runs on just two hits in the third.

A hit batter and two walks loaded the bases. Sager relieved and gave up an RBI groundout to Derek Bell before intentionally walking Jeff Bagwell to reload the bases.

Alou walked to force in another run before Everett hit a two-run double and Tony Eusebio added an RBI single.

In the fourth, Craig Biggio doubled and scored on Bell's sacrifice fly before Bagwell walked and Alou hit a two-run homer to make it 10-0 and finish Sager.

Schourek was perfect through four innings before Tony Clark led off the fifth with a bad-hop single off Bagwell's glove at first. Damion Easley followed with a clean single, but a strikeout and a double play ended the inning.

Bobby Higginson's RBI single ended Schourek's shutout bid in the seventh. Oliver hit a leadoff homer off Bob Scanlan in the eighth before Higginson tripled off Trever Miller and scored on Frank Catalanotto's groundout in the ninth.

Everett had an RBI single in the second, and Alou scored from third when second baseman Easley speared Sean Berry's drive up the middle and turned it into a 4-3 double play.

Notes:

  • Schourek went seven innings for the second straight time after lasting no longer than 5 1-3 innings in any of his previous six starts.
  • Detroit right-hander Doug Brocail has dropped his appeal of a two-game suspension for hitting Oakland's Rickey Henderson after an umpire's warning May 15, inciting a minor bench-clearing incident. Brocail began the suspension Wednesday and will end it with Friday's game at Kansas City.
  • The Astros' 40-24 record matches the 1980 club for the best 64-game start in franchise history. The three-game sweep was their first of the season.
  • Tigers closer Todd Jones pitched a scoreless ninth after blowing saves in the first two games of the series. Jones allowed a total of eight runs in 1 1-3 innings in the first two games.

    ©1998 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed

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