DETROIT (AP) - On the way to winning their sixth straight game, the Detroit Tigers found an extra team-bonding moment.
The Tigers held an 8-0 lead going into the bottom of the seventh, but sensed that the Houston Astros were upset that both Jose Altuve and George Springer had been hit by pitches.
So, when the Astros' Scott Feldman hit Cameron Maybin to start the seventh, the Tigers were ready to get revenge in their own way. First, Maybin stole second — something he would normally never do with an eight-run lead.
"I believe in playing the game the right way, so I took second to let them know that I knew what was going," he said. "After that, I left it up to the big fella, because I knew he had my back."
Miguel Cabrera hit Feldman's next pitch into the Astros' bullpen for his second homer of the game. That made it a ten-run game, and the Tigers went on to an 11-0 win Sunday.
"I didn't need to say anything to Feldman — that was just baseball," said Cabrera, who celebrated a bit more than expected, given the score. "That's how you play the game."
The Tigers, who began the day one game behind Boston for the second American League wild-card spot, have now won six straight — including a sweep at Fenway Park. The win extended Detroit's lead over Houston to 1 1/2 games.
"It is easy to be confident when you have won six in a row, but we've always felt like this team was going to be in the race," said Justin Upton, who also homered for Detroit. "This is a really good team, and we're getting hot at the same time we're getting healthy."
Detroit outscored Houston 28-8 in the series.
"This wasn't our day, it wasn't our weekend and it wasn't our series," Astros manager A.J. Hinch said. "We need to pack our stuff and get out of here."
James McCann's first career grand slam capped Detroit's six-run first inning.
Mike Pelfrey (4-9) got the win, pitching five shutout innings and allowing four hits and a walk while striking out four. He has now allowed fewer than two runs in five of his last eight starts.
Pelfrey, though, was forced out by tightness in his back, and was having an MRI after the game.
Dallas Keuchel (6-11) took the loss, allowing seven runs and seven hits in five innings, walking three and striking out four.
Two days after scoring nine runs in the first two innings off Collin McHugh, the Tigers were all over Keuchel. Seven of the first eight batters reached base, capped off by McCann's grand slam to make it 6-0. Only Maybin getting thrown out on the bases kept the defending Cy Young winner from giving up more runs in the inning.
"A couple tough-luck plays kind of extended that inning, and then I elevated a pitch to McCann," Keuchel said. "That was the difference maker."
The Astros loaded the bases in the third, but Pelfrey got out of the jam by retiring Carlos Correa on a broken-bat grounder to third. Houston had them loaded again in the seventh, but Bruce Rondon struck out Correa.
Cabrera made it 7-0 with a fifth-inning homer off Keuchel, and Mike Aviles added an eighth run in the next inning. He doubled off Scott Feldman and scored on Jose Iglesias's one-out sacrifice fly.
Astros: 1B Marwin Gonzalez (hand) and OF Carlos Gomez (hamstring) were both out of the starting lineup, leaving OF Jake Marisnick as the only healthy position player on Houston's bench. Gonzalez, who got hurt Friday night, is scheduled to see a hand specialist on Monday.
Tigers: OF J.D. Martinez (elbow) went 2 for 5 for Triple-A Toledo on Saturday, and is now hitting .350 after four games of a rehab assignment. He still hasn't played the field, but the Tigers are hoping to have him back by week's end.
McCann's first-inning homer was the first grand slam of his career and the 15th home run. Not only did the grand slam come against Keuchel — his college teammate at Arkansas — he has also homered twice against Drew Smyly, who also played with them with the Razorbacks.
Houston rookie Alex Bregman got his first career hit in the third inning, ending an 0-for-18 start. Cabrera called for the ball and ceremoniously presented it to Bregman, who tossed it to the Astros dugout.
Astros: Return home for the first of four games with Toronto. The Astros may have to start rookie Joe Musgrove, because scheduled starter Doug Fister is with his wife, who is about to give birth to the couple's first child. The Blue Jays haven't announced their rotation for the series.
Tigers: Off Monday before hosting the White Sox for three games. Anibal Sanchez (5-11, 6.56) is scheduled to start the opener against James Shields (5-12, 4.68).