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'05 NLDS, Gm 4 ATL@HOU: Burke, Astros walk off in 18

Brad Ausmus will return to Houston for the first time as a manager of the Tigers on Friday.

Ausmus was a catcher for the Astros in 1997-98 and from 2001-08, which includes the Astros' World Series run in 2005. He was known as a defensive catcher, though he did have his moments at the plate, like when he hit a ninth-inning home run in Game 4 of the 2005 National League Division Series against the Braves to tie the game at 6. The Astros went on to win in 18 innings.

"I played there for 10 years and eight of them were in this ballpark," Ausmus said. "I certainly have a lot of baseball memories there, though I don't know many people in the organization anymore."

His first-place Tigers and their scorching offense will take on a floundering Astros team and their starter, Brad Peacock, who missed his last outing after battling food poisoning.

"It was very frustrating," Peacock said. "I felt real weak."

Peacock said he lost 10 pounds from the ordeal, though he's feeling better now. He added that the start was the second he's ever missed in his Major League career, with the first coming earlier this season.

His challenge against the Tigers will be steep, as they take a seven-game winning streak into Friday's game against the Astros. During that stretch, they scored 45 runs, including 32 in their last four games.

"There's really no break in their order," Peacock said. "I've got to be on top of my game."

He'll particularly hope to throw well against his former Houston teammate, J.D. Martinez, who the Tigers signed before this season. Martinez spent three seasons with the Astros, and had a batting average of .250 in 2013.

"To me, it's cool," Martinez said. "It's special. It's exciting just to go back and see a lot of familiar faces. There's guys there I grew up with, guys that I started out with and we grew up together playing. It's fun. I'd be lying to you in saying I don't miss them, just because I've been with them for so long."

This season, Martinez is batting .320 for the Tigers.

"I don't really like it too much," Peacock said. "Because you know the guy and you don't want to give up the hit to him."

The Astros will face Justin Verlander, who is coming off of one of his better starts this season, in which he gave up two runs in seven innings to the Indians.

Astros: Springer Dingers
On Tuesday night, George Springer belted a 441-foot home run to the Budweiser Patio at Minute Maid Park. He added another homer Thursday against the Braves.

That homer was No. 15 for Springer this season, which puts him on a record pace for an Astros rookie in a single season. Lance Berkman currently holds the Astros' rookie record with 21 home runs, which he hit in 2000. Springer's 15 home runs are the most for any Astros rookie before the All-Star break.

Tigers: J.D. Martinez streak ends
With an 0-for-4 in Thursday's game against the Rangers, Martinez had a 14-game hitting streak come to an end. Over the course of that streak, Martinez hit .411 with nine runs scored, eight doubles, six home runs and 17 RBIs. It was the longest hitting streak in Martinez's career.

Worth noting
• Houston added relief pitcher Jose Veras to its Major League roster Thursday, while outrighting Kyle Farnsworth off the active roster. Farnsworth is expected to elect free agency, rather than go to Triple-A Oklahoma City.

• The Tigers outrighted right-handed pitcher Evan Reed's contract to Triple-A Toledo on Thursday. Comments