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03/29/07 4:10 PM ET

Albers strong in relief, but Astros fall

Righty strikes out five in four scoreless innings against Tigers

at Lakeland, Fla.
Thursday, March 29

Astros at the plate: Francisco Caraballo drove in Houston's lone run with a seventh-inning groundout, plating Beau Torbert. Jonathan Ash went 2-for-4.

Tigers at the plate: Brandon Inge accounted for all of Detroit's scoring with a bases-clearing double in the second inning. Once Inge and other Tigers regulars left after one at-bat, Matt Joyce led the offense by going 2-for-3.

Astros on the mound: Fernando Nieve, one of the candidates for the fifth spot in Houston's rotation, allowed Inge's double in the second, one of seven hits he allowed over four innings. Matt Albers, another candidate, followed with four scoreless innings and five strikeouts.

Tigers on the mound: Chad Durbin, now facing a starting role in a week and a half with Kenny Rogers on the disabled list, scattered five hits and two walks over 5 2/3 scoreless innings before Vic Darensbourg earned a called third strike to end a scoring threat in the sixth. Fernando Rodney, Bobby Seay and Todd Jones each worked a scoreless inning.

Grapefruit League records: Astros 16-11, Tigers 20-10-2.

Up next: The Tigers will close out their home Spring Training schedule at Joker Marchant Stadium on Friday with a 12:05 p.m. CT game against the Yankees. Justin Verlander will make his final spring tuneup opposite Minor Leaguer Chase Wright. The game will be broadcast on ESPN and the Tigers radio network. The Astros will be in Houston this weekend for a preseason series against the Royals starting Friday with a 6:05 p.m. contest. Woody Williams will start the opener opposite Zack Greinke.

Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.