DETROIT -- The Detroit Tigers' bats cooled off on Monday night, but red-hot starter Max Scherzer kept their winning streak alive.
The reigning American League Cy Young Award winner pitching eight scoreless innings in the Tigers' sixth consecutive victory, a 2-0 shutout over the Houston Astros at Comerica Park.
Scherzer (4-1), who has won four consecutive starts, gave up just three hits while striking out nine in a duel with the Astros' Jarred Cosart.
"They're a very aggressive team and you have to mix in more off-speed early in the count," Scherzer said. "Then, I was able to come back with fastballs and keep them off-balance. I stayed away from any damage, any doubles and made them try to beat me with singles. It's usually a good recipe for success when you also do a good job of striking them out and not walking them."
Detroit scored 35 runs in the first five games of the streak, including 26 in a three-game sweep of Kansas City over the weekend. But Cosart (1-3) stymied the Tigers until left fielder Rajai Davis singled in the go-ahead run in the seventh.
"Teams that expect to go to the playoffs and want to make a run at the playoffs have to win 2-1, 1-0, 2-0 games, because those are the types of games you're going to be playing during the playoffs and down the stretch," Tigers catcher Alex Avila said. "You've got to be able to execute not only pitches but make plays defensively to win those games."
Joe Nathan notched his sixth save during Detroit's first shutout victory of the season. Designated hitter Victor Martinez added a solo homer while right fielder Torii Hunter had two singles to extend his hitting streak to 12 games. First baseman Miguel Cabrera's 10-game hitting streak was snapped as he went 0-for-4.
Cosart only allowed an unearned run and four hits in seven innings, but Houston lost for the fifth time in its last six games.
"(Scherzer) is a Cy Young Award winner for a reason, but I felt Jarred did a great job matching him pitch for pitch and ended up taking a tough loss," Astros manager Bo Porter said. "He did a great job with his breaking stuff. He threw more changeups than he's done in the past and it really helped him."
The Astros ran themselves out of scoring chances in the last two innings. Scherzer recorded a strikeout-double play against shortstop Jose Altuve to end the eighth, as pinch-runner Marwin Gonzalez was caught stealing when Altuve failed to make contact.
Center fielder Dexter Fowler made an ill-advised attempt to advance to second in the ninth when Nathan bounced a pitch in the dirt. Avila threw out Fowler, who had drawn a walk, with no outs.
"In that situation, you've got to be able to make it standing up," Porter said. "Your run doesn't mean anything. You need another guy to get on base when you're down by two."
A dropped throw helped to break the scoreless deadlock in the seventh inning. Tigers third baseman Nick Castellanos led off with a routine grounder to third, but Matt Dominguez's throw bounced off the glove of first baseman Marc Krauss.
Avila drew a walk against Cosart, and shortstop Andrew Romine advanced the runners with a sacrifice. Davis then smacked a single past the drawn-in infield for a 1-0 lead.
Martinez's home run against reliever Anthony Bass in the eighth provided some insurance.
Martinez had an impressive streak snapped in the first inning when Cosart struck him out looking. It was the first time Martinez fanned on a called strike since May 21, 2013, when Cleveland's Matt Albers, now with the Astros, got him. The streak lasted 154 games and 579 at-bats.
NOTES: Every player in Detroit's starting lineup in each game of the weekend sweep at Kansas City recorded at least one hit. According to Elias Sports Bureau, no team did that for three consecutive games since the New York Yankees from July 21-23, 2007. ... Astros RHP Scott Feldman threw 60 pitches during a bullpen session Sunday, and he is expected to come off the 15-day disabled list to start at Baltimore on Friday. Feldman, 2-1 with a 1.69 ERA, is recovering from biceps tendinitis. ... Tigers LHP Robbie Ray will make his major league debut Tuesday. Ray had a 3-2 record with a 1.53 ERA in six appearances, including five starts, with Triple-A Toledo. ... Houston lost six of seven to Detroit last season.