Astros’ Morton looks keep Tigers’ bats quiet (May 24, 2017)

HOUSTON — It was inevitable that, following the splendid performance of right-hander Brad Peacock in his spot start on Monday night, Houston Astros manager A.J. Hinch would be asked to address the potential for Peacock to join the rotation on a full-time basis.

With right-handers Mike Fiers (1-2, 5.14 ERA) and Joe Musgrove (3-4, 5.63) scuffling in the back end of the rotation, Peacock (2-0, 0.87) seems a viable option as a replacement once ace Dallas Keuchel returns from the 10-day disabled list.

Peacock had been strong in relief this season before working 4 1/3 scoreless innings to lead a combined one-hitter against the Detroit Tigers on Monday.

“We’ll assess all of our options,” Hinch said Tuesday. “Because of the volume he pitched last Tuesday (70 pitches), we don’t have to address it for a couple days. I need to see what Dallas’ schedule is going to look like; that will impact it.

“Obviously, the back end of our rotation has been good some days, not so good some other days. He certainly is making a case to be given another start. But given that he’s going to be down for a couple days, I don’t need to focus on it quite yet.”

Instead, Hinch will focus on the Wednesday start of Charlie Morton (5-3, 4.15 ERA) against the Tigers. The right-hander is 0-1 with a 6.00 ERA in his career vs. Detroit.

Morton had his four-start winning streak snapped in his previous outing, allowing four runs on eight hits over 5 1/3 innings Friday against the Cleveland Indians. He ranks ninth in the American League in strikeouts (59) and fifth in strikeouts per nine innings at 10.48. Morton has two double-digit strikeout games this season after entering 2017 with just one in his nine-year career.

Tigers left-hander Daniel Norris (2-3, 4.81 ERA) will make his first career appearance against the Astros.

Norris has made eight career starts against AL West opponents, going 0-2 with a 5.91 ERA. Both losses came this season, with Norris posting a 6.75 ERA and 20 strikeouts over 20 innings in four starts.

On the heels of the one-hitter on Monday, Detroit’s third shutout loss on the season, the Tigers mustered just one hit before Mikie Mahtook blasted a two-run home run off Astros reliever Michael Feliz in the seventh inning Tuesday. The homer represented the only Detroit offense in a 6-2 loss.

Mahtook recorded the Tigers’ lone hit in the series opener, and his second homer of the season came with Detroit one strike away from posting a 20th consecutive scoreless frame.

“Obviously, we want to win,” Mahtook said. “We’re competitive athletes. You want to put your best swing in every at-bat you have. It’s been two games. Obviously, we haven’t scored many runs in these two games.

“This is a clubhouse full of veteran guys and Hall of Famers and guys that have done it for a very long time. I don’t think anybody is worried about it. Obviously, we want to score, we want to win. We’re not happy with losses, but baseball is a long season.”