By NOAH TRISTER/AP Baseball Writer
DETROIT (AP) – Miguel Cabrera hit a two-run homer in the first inning, and Rick Porcello pitched effectively into the seventh to the lead the Detroit Tigers to their eighth straight win, 3-2 over the Houston Astros on Wednesday night.
Victor Martinez homered for the Tigers, extending his hitting streak to 10 games for the three-time defending AL Central champions. Porcello (5-1) allowed two runs and seven hits in 6 2-3 innings. He struck out five and walked two.
Joba Chamberlain got four outs in relief for the Tigers, and Joe Nathan pitched the ninth for his seventh save in nine chances. Nathan struck out Matt Dominguez with a man on third to preserve the win.
Houston has lost five straight and seven of eight. Brad Peacock (0-3) allowed three runs and four hits in 6 2-3 innings. He struck out four and walked four.
After a slow start, Cabrera is again swinging the bat with authority for the Tigers. After homering in a four-hit, four-RBI performance Tuesday night, he stepped to the plate with a man on Wednesday and lifted a drive to deep right.
Houston’s George Springer tried valiantly to make the catch at the wall, but the ball nicked off his glove and went over, and the outfielder fell to the ground. It was Cabrera’s fourth homer of the year.
Porcello allowed a run in the third when Marwin Gonzalez doubled and eventually scored on Dexter Fowler’s groundout, but the Detroit infield turned double plays in the fifth and sixth to help the 25-year-old right-hander. In the fifth, Gonzalez was on first and took off toward second when Jose Altuve hit a grounder up the middle. Detroit second baseman Ian Kinsler, in the area because of the steal attempt, simply picked up the ball, stepped on the bag and threw to first for the double play.
Martinez hit an 0-2 pitch over the wall in right to make it 3-1 in the sixth, but Houston answered with a run in the seventh, chasing Porcello. Marc Krauss hit a two-out double, Dominguez followed with a single, and Gonzalez singled to drive in Krauss.
Chamberlain came on and retired Altuve with men on first and second to end that threat. The big reliever then struck out the side in the eighth.
Nathan entered in the ninth and allowed a two-out walk to Krauss. Pinch-runner Jonathan Villar stole second and third, but Dominguez went down swinging to end it.
NOTES: The game started after a 9-minute rain delay, and the wet weather persisted during the early innings. … Detroit’s Torii Hunter had his hitting streak snapped at 13 games. … Peacock has gone eight straight starts – dating to last season – without allowing more than three earned runs. … Martinez’s homer was his sixth of the season. … Springer struck out three times. … Detroit’s Drew Smyly (2-1) faces Houston’s Dallas Keuchel (2-2) on Thursday in a matchup of former college teammates at Arkansas.
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