DETROIT -- Hours after the Indians fortified their roster for the stretch run by acquiring Andrew Miller, the Tigers continued to apply pressure, using a six-run first inning off reigning American League Cy Young Award winner Dallas Keuchel to complete a three-game sweep of the Astros with an 11-0 win Sunday at Comerica Park.
Detroit's sixth consecutive win tied a season-high winning streak from a month ago. The Tigers moved nine games over .500 for the first time since May 22, 2015, though they remained 4 1/2 games behind Cleveland in the AL Central. The Astros have lost three in a row for the first time since May 20-22, when they were swept by Texas.
"We come every day, whether we win or lose, ready to play with energy," said Miguel Cabrera, who homered twice to go with four RBIs. "Every day is a different day. Maybe the results are good or bad, but we always feel confident we can win the game."
Keuchel (6-11) took the mound with an 11-inning scoreless streak against the Tigers, and three runs allowed over 22 2/3 innings vs. Detroit since 2014. He gave up twice that many runs in the first, including a grand slam to his former catcher at the University of Arkansas, James McCann.
The seven runs off Keuchel in five innings were one shy of his season high. Justin Upton hit the Tigers' fourth homer of the game in the seventh inning off Scott Feldman. The early support allowed Tigers starter Mike Pelfrey (4-9) to cruise to victory with five scoreless innings, avenging a 1-0 loss in Houston from April 15.
"We've been through this before where we've had a little bit of a lull," Astros manager A.J. Hinch said. "We're beat up a little bit, but big deal. We're going to have to deal with it and get home and start against two really good teams this next homestand. We will chalk it up as not our time this weekend. We'll learn from it and try to get better at some of the things that we need to. I'll be happy to leave Detroit."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED McCann strikes again: On the day Jonathan Lucroy exercised his no-trade clause to Cleveland and stayed with the Brewers for now, McCann hit his third home run in four games, turning on a Keuchel offspeed offering for his first career grand slam to cap the six-run first. McCann, who later threw out George Springer from his knees on a stolen-base attempt, has three home runs and six RBIs since rumors of the Tigers' interest in Lucroy were reported on Wednesday.
"It was a cutter, and it found the middle of the plate," McCann said. "I was able to put a good swing on it." More >
Keuchel's clunker: Keuchel's string of seven consecutive quality starts came to a quick end when he allowed six runs and five hits in the first inning, including a grand slam, while facing nine batters. He retired 10 of the next 11 batters he faced before Cabrera's homer in the fifth tagged him for his seventh run allowed.
"It's just a bad inning," Hinch said. "He's human. He's been pretty good the last couple of starts and things kind of got away from him a little bit. There were two balls that were hit hard -- one by Cabrera, one by McCann -- and he looks up and he's six runs down. A little unlucky, little bit of not making perfect pitches, but just a bad inning." More >
Miggy mashes twice: Cabrera entered Sunday 1-for-7 in the series before his RBI single in the first, but he saved his bigger damage for later. His opposite-field drive off Keuchel stretched Detroit's lead to 7-0 in the fifth inning before he pulled a ball into the bullpen in left for a two-run homer in the seventh, completing his fourth two-homer game this season.
Bregman breaks through: Hinch had so much confidence in rookie Alex Bregman that he moved him up to the No. 2 spot in the lineup despite his 0-for-17 start at the plate. Bregman flied out in the first and then broke his 0-for-18 by lining a single to center field in the third for his first big league hit. Bregman got the ball, flashed a smile and got a hug from Cabrera at first base.
"It was good to get that one out of the way, and now hopefully I'll get on a little roll and help this team win games," Bregman said. More >
"He just let me know, 'I got your back.' He felt like he wasn't going to stand for it. I'm lucky enough to play beside a guy that I was traded for a long time ago. That really did something for me." -- Cameron Maybin, on Cabrera homering after Maybin was hit by a Scott Feldman pitch leading off the seventh.
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
Three of McCann's 15 career Major League home runs have come off pitchers he caught at Arkansas. Sunday's grand slam was his first homer off Keuchel. He has two off Drew Smyly, his former teammate at Arkansas and with the Tigers.
WHAT'S NEXT Astros: The Astros open a tough seven-game homestand Monday with the first of four games against the Blue Jays at 7:10 p.m. CT at Minute Maid Park. Doug Fister was originally scheduled to start, but the pending birth of his first child has the Astros considering starting No. 7 prospect Joe Musgrove instead. More >
Tigers: After an off-day Monday, the Tigers continue their homestand by opening a three-game series against the White Sox at Comerica Park. Anibal Sanchez (5-11, 6.56 ERA) starts Tuesday's series opener, a 7:10 p.m. ET first pitch, after giving up four runs on 10 hits over six innings against the White Sox on July 24 in Chicago.