DETROIT (AP) - Brandon Barnes caught Miguel Cabrera's bases-loaded drive against the wall in right-center field for the final out, and the Houston Astros avoided a season sweep against the Detroit Tigers with a 7-5 victory Wednesday. Carlos Corporan hit a tiebreaking double in the top of the ninth for the Astros, who lost their first six meetings with the Tigers by a combined 50-12. Jose Veras pitched the ninth for his fifth save in seven chances. He walked two and hit a batter, but Cabrera's drive came a few feet short of winning the game. Hector Ambriz (1-2) got the win. Al Alburquerque (0-1) walked J.D. Martinez starting the ninth, and Corporan followed with a drive to the gap in left-center off left-hander Phil Coke.
CHICAGO (AP) - Johnny Oduya and Marcus Kruger scored in the third period, Corey Crawford made 20 saves and the Chicago Blackhawks beat the Detroit Red Wings 4-1 in the opener of their second-round playoff series Wednesday night. Chicago dominated the final two periods in its first game in the Western Conference semifinals since it won the Stanley Cup in 2010. Marian Hossa scored the opening goal, and Patrick Sharp had an empty-netter and two assists to give him nine points in the playoffs. Jimmy Howard finished with 38 stops in a terrific performance, but Detroit still lost to rival Chicago for the eighth straight time dating to last season. The series resumes on Saturday at 1 p.m. at the United Center. Game 3 is Monday, May 20 at 7:30 p.m. in Detroit and Game 4 is Thursday, May 23 at 8 p.m. in Detroit.
MIDLAND, Mich. (AP) - A beer developed to celebrate a Michigan minor league baseball team has been cut from the team's home field beverage offerings. The Great Lakes Loons dropped Bay City-based Tri-City Brewing Co. as a vendor at Dow Diamond in Midland. The brewing company's Kevin Peil says it's a "big disappointment" that baseball fans will need to look elsewhere for Loons Summer Ale. Tri-City plans to continue making Loons Summer Ale for sale at other locations. Great Lakes Loons President and General Manager Paul Barbeau says the team had a "really good, supportive relationship" with Tri-City and a distributor for several years, but a change was made in the offseason to switch to a different distributor. The Loons are a Single-A affiliate of the Los Angeles Dodgers.
CHICAGO (AP) - The Chicago Blackhawks have waves of talented lines, making them a difficult matchup for any team. Months after Nicklas Lidstrom retired, they pose quite the challenge for the Detroit Red Wings in their second-round playoff series that begins Wednesday night. Chicago's deep group of forwards against Detroit's refurbished defense is one major area to watch when the Blackhawks host the Red Wings in Game 1 at 8 p.m. Detroit coach Mike Babcock says the Blackhawks will test his defensemen, while Chicago coach Joel Quenneville says the Red Wings have improved over the course of the season. Game 2 is Saturday, May 18 at 1 p.m. Games 3 and 4 shift to Detroit on Monday, May 20 at 7:30 p.m. and Thursday, May 23 at 8 p.m.
GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (AP) - Michigan coach Brady Hoke has taken the Notre Dame rivalry up a notch. Hoke made a crowd chuckle on Monday at West Michigan Sports Commission luncheon by saying the Fighting Irish are "chickening out" from the storied series. Notre Dame exercised an option in its football-scheduling contract with Michigan last fall to cancel games from 2015-2017. Hoke lamented that the Irish will continue to play rivals Michigan State and Purdue, joking he knows why they made that decision. A letter from Notre Dame athletic director Jack Swarbrick to Michigan athletic director Dave Brandon that opted out of the game was obtained by The Associated Press through a Freedom of Information Act request. Swarbrick wrote then that the move was necessary because of commitments to the Atlantic Coast Conference.
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) - Fourth-round draft pick William Gholston has signed a contract with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The 6-foot-6, 281-pound defensive end out of Michigan State was the 126th overall selection last month. He had 10 career sacks in college and was a second-team All-Big Ten selection as a sophomore and junior with the Spartans. The Bucs announced the signing Tuesday. Gholston is the third draft pick to reach terms. Fifth-rounder Steven Means and sixth-round selection Mike James signed on Monday.
ALLEN PARK, Mich. (AP) - The Detroit Lions have signed defensive end Freddie Bishop and released running back Devin Moore. The team did not disclose contract terms Tuesday. Bishop, an undrafted free agent, played college football at Western Michigan. He had 15 sacks in four seasons there. The 27-year-old Moore played four games for the Indianapolis Colts in 2010, but he hasn't appeared in a regular season game since.
ALLEN PARK, Mich. (AP) - The Detroit Lions say they've signed undrafted rookie free agent center Darren Keyton and have released center Skyler Allen. The team didn't release terms of Keyton's contract Monday. Keyton played at Traverse City West High School and at Western Michigan University, where he started all 13 games as right guard in 2012.
DETROIT (AP) - Andy Dirks hit his first career grand slam, part of a six-run fourth inning for the Detroit Tigers in their 7-2 victory over the Houston Astros on Monday night. Victor Martinez also homered for the Tigers, who swept four straight from the Astros in Houston earlier this month and opened this three-game series at Comerica Park with another convincing victory. Anibal Sanchez (4-3) allowed two runs and six hits in seven innings for the Tigers. He struck out eight with one walk. Bud Norris (4-4) allowed seven runs and nine hits in five innings before leaving with lower back spasms. Houston has lost five straight and 15 of 18 - and the Astros also lost standout second baseman Jose Altuve in the second inning with a jaw injury.
CHICAGO (AP) - The Chicago Blackhawks have waves of talented lines, making them a difficult matchup for any team. Months after Nicklas Lidstrom retired, they pose quite the challenge for the Detroit Red Wings in their second-round playoff series that begins Wednesday night. Chicago's deep group of forwards against Detroit's refurbished defense is one major area to watch when the Blackhawks host the Red Wings in Game 1 at 8 p.m. Detroit coach Mike Babcock says the Blackhawks will test his defensemen, while Chicago coach Joel Quenneville says the Red Wings have improved over the course of the season.