DETROIT (AP) — Max Scherzer pitched three-hit ball and struck out nine over eight innings, leading the Detroit Tigers past the Houston Astros 2-0 Monday night for their season-high sixth straight victory.
Rajai Davis broke a scoreless tie with an RBI single in the seventh and Victor Martinez hit a solo homer in the eighth. Catcher Alex Avila threw out two runners in the late innings for the Tigers, who have the best record in the AL.
Houston, which has the worst record in the majors, has lost three in a row.
Scherzer (4-1) earned his fourth straight win. The reigning Cy Young Award winner has struck out at least seven in each of his seven starts this season, the only pitcher to pull off that feat in franchise history and the first for any team since San Francisco’s Tim Lincecum in 2010.
Joe Nathan pitched the ninth for his sixth save in eight chances.
Nathan walked Dexter Fowler to lead off the inning. Fowler tried to advance on a pitch in the dirt and was thrown out by Alex Avila, a call that stood after a video review.
Jarred Cosart (1-3) allowed an unearned run and four hits in seven innings. Nick Castellanos reached in the seventh because first baseman Marc Krauss dropped a perfect throw from third baseman Matt Dominguez.
Scherzer gave up a leadoff walk to Krauss in the eighth and Jonathan Villar singled with one out. Jose Altuve then struck out and Avila threw out pinch-runner Marwin Gonzalez trying to steal third.
Houston’s Anthony Bass, who pitched at nearby Wayne State University, gave up Martinez’s homer.
Both starting pitchers slowed down lineups that have been more productive lately. The Tigers scored at least eight runs in each win during their three-game sweep at Kansas City last weekend. Houston had a combined 20 runs in its previous three games.
NOTES: The Tigers cleared the way for LHP Robbie Ray to make his major league debut, taking 1B Jordan Lennerton off their 40-man roster and outrighting his contract to Triple-A Toledo on Monday. Ray is listed as the probable pitcher for Tuesday night’s game at home against LHP Brett Oberholtzer (0-5) the Astros. The 22-year-old Ray was a key part of the offseason trade that sent RHP Doug Fister to Washington. … Astros RHP Scott Feldman, who has been on the DL since mid-April with right biceps tendinitis, is expected to start Friday at Baltimore. … Houston manager Bo Porter said RHP Matt Albers, on the DL with shoulder tendinitis, is “getting closer,” to returning. … Many of the Tigers were sporting Zubaz pants — with orange and blue stripes — in the clubhouse before the game and had matching flip flops, ties and headbands in their lockers. Detroit manager Brad Ausmus said they were team-bonding gifts from RHP Joba Chamberlain. “The sad part is I had Zubaz when I was younger,” the 45-year-old Ausmus said. “For the guys in the clubhouse, this is retro.” … Lions safety Glover Quin, Michigan guard Nik Stauskas and U.S. Speedskating Olympian Kelly Gunther each threw a ceremonial first pitch.