HOUSTON -- Miguel Tejada hopes ending the major leagues' longest current winning streak will help the Houston Astros to start one of their own.
Tejada had a double and drove in two runs to lead the Astros to a 5-4 victory over Detroit on Friday night, ending the Tigers' seven-game winning streak."For our team it's really, really big," Tejada said of the Astros, who have won two straight but are fifth in the NL Central. "Now I think we get some games from other teams and that's what we'll continue to do."Tejada doubled in the third inning for the Astros' first run and drove in the winning run on a sacrifice fly in the eighth that followed Jeff Keppinger's bases-loaded walk that made it 4-4.Kaz Matsui singled with one out in the eighth before Joel Zumaya (3-2) walked three consecutive batters."He got out Pudge [Ivan Rodriguez], the guy got a base hit and then he got wild," Tigers manager Jim Leyland said shaking his head.He was replaced by Freddy Dolsi after walking Keppinger.Placido Polanco's three-run homer with two outs in the second inning put Detroit up 4-0. Miguel Cabrera hit a solo homer in the first.Chris Sampson (4-0) got the last out of the eighth and LaTroy Hawkins pitched a scoreless ninth for his 10th save.Astros starter Wandy Rodriguez struggled early, facing 12 batters and throwing 51 pitches in two innings."I was very bad with location in the first and second innings," Rodriguez said. "My mistake today was trying to throw too hard."He got on track, retiring seven of the next eight before walking Cabrera with one out in the fifth. He allowed two singles but got Magglio Ordonez to ground into a double play to end the inning and he was replaced in the sixth.The Tigers have homered in 10 consecutive games, their longest stretch in almost two years.Detroit starter Justin Verlander allowed seven hits and three runs and struck out six in 5 1/3 innings."Our [ace] wasn't really sharp and we couldn't throw strikes," Leyland said.Tejada said forcing Verlander out so early was key in getting the win."When we face a guy like Verlander, a good pitcher like this, we need to be a little bit relaxed and take some more pitches," he said. "Look at what happened. He was out of the game in the sixth inning and that's what we were looking for."
An interview with Tejada that was recorded before the season played on the video board in the eighth. He was asked who he would most like to meet and he answered Michael Jackson. The screen flashed a picture of Jackson from the "Thriller" album cover with the words "Thanks Mike 1958-2009" and the crowd of more than 30,000 cheered. ... Houston LHP Mike Hampton, on the DL with a left groin strain, is scheduled to start Tuesday. ... Houston signed first-round draft pick Jiovanni Mier on Friday. The shortstop, who was selected 21st, has been assigned to Houston's rookie team. ... Astros INF Geoff Blum, on the DL with a strained hamstring, was 0 for 3 in the first game of his rehab assignment with Triple-A Round Rock on Thursday and had a double on Friday. ... Houston designated RHP Brandon Backe for assignment after the game.