DETROIT - The Detroit Tigers (20-9) won their eighth straight game Wednesday night behind two home runs and a strong start from Rick Porcello. Though the Tigers rank 21st in the MLB in team home runs, a two-run blast from Miguel Cabrera in the first inning and a solo shot from Victor Martinez in the sixth provided all the offense for Detroit in its 3-2 win over the Houston Astros (10-24).
Brad Peacock was excellent for the struggling Astros, surrendering just three runs in 6 2/3 innings. The effort lowered his ERA to 5.01 on the season, but wasn't enough to keep Houston from losing its fifth straight.
Meanwhile Porcello held the Astros to two runs in 6 2/3 innings for his fourth straight victory. Houston outhit Detroit for the first time in the series, but Porcello pitched well with traffic on the base paths and limited the damage.
Don Kelly led the Tigers with two hits in his first start since May 2. Torii Hunter's 13-game hitting streak came to an end after an 0-4 effort, but Martinez extended his to 10 games with the home run.
The Tigers mixed in some speed with the power display, stealing three bases without being caught. Rajai Davis stole his team-leading 12th base in the seventh inning.
Detroit's bullpen continued to turn things around Wednesday, recording 2 1/3 scoreless innings in relief of Porcello. Joba Chamberlain struck out three batters while recording four outs and lowered his ERA to 3.55. Joe Nathan struck out two hitters in the ninth for his seventh save of the season.
The first-place Tigers maintained their 5.5-game lead over the Chicago White Sox in the AL Central Division. That margin is the largest for any division leader in the MLB.
Standings: Tigers hold top record in baseball
The Tigers will host the Astros for the fourth and final game of the series Thursday afternoon at 1:08.