Kitties Hammer Keuchel, 11-0
Astros Swept; Falling Further Back

McCann: The rout is on
(c) Associated Press
James McCann remembers Dallas Keuchel. They were teammates at the University of Arkansas. McCann greeted his old Razorback chum with a grand slam home run Sunday to cap a six-run first inning that propelled the Detroit Tigers to an 11-0 sweep over the Astros which have now lost five of six while red-hot Detroit has pushed past them in the wild card standings.

Miguel Cabrera (note: not a college teammate of Keuchel) slammed two home runs to the delight of the 31,000 at Comerica Park while the Astros were looking foreclosed upon.

Mike Pelfrey and four relievers combined on a seven-hit shutout. Alex Bregman got his first big league hit - a single to snap an 0-for-18 slump to begin his big league career. He's still batting a whopping .045. Evan Gattis managed three hits and George Springer two.

Keuchel allowed seven runs over five innings and got off to a bad start much like Collin McHugh did on Friday. His ERA has ballooned to 4.86 for the season compared to being down near 2.00 this time last year. Scott Feldman was tagged for four additional runs in relief.

The best thing the Astros could do was high-tail it back to Houston but they hardly seem confident heading into an important series with the Toronto Blue Jays and an even more important series next weekend with the Rangers.

The Astros aren't even sure who will be their starting pitcher Monday night. Doug Fister (10-7) did not make the trip to Detroit because his wife is expecting their first child so the Astros sent Joe Musgrove on a plane to Houston from Fresno. Musgrove will make his big league debut unless Fister insists on pitching instead. Three years ago, Musgrove was part of a 10-player trade coming from the Jays to Houston. As of this writing, Musgrove has not been activated.

Marcus Stroman (8-4) will await whoever that starter will be in Monday's 7:10 Central opener. The Astros are dealing with a short bench in the meantime. Marwin Gonzalez will have his injured hand inspected by a specialist on Monday while Carlos Gomez sat again with a hamstring pull and Luis Valbuena has gone to the disabled list with his own hamstring woes.

Woe was the operative word during that 1-5 week. A repeat performance this week might send Houston's high hopes crashing down at exactly the wrong moment.

-Bob Hulsey