Tigers earn first win
Detroit dropped the first two games in Texas before turning to Fister, who won the decisive fifth game of the division series at Yankee Stadium last week. He was sharp again, allowing two runs and seven hits with no walks in 7 1-3 innings.
Jose Valverde, after pitching a season-high two innings the day before, worked around a leadoff double in the ninth for his third playoff save. He got some help from Cabrera, who made a diving play at first base.
“It’s going to be a long series,” Cabrera said. “Nobody (said) it’s going to be easy.”
Game 4 is this afternoon. Matt Harrison starts for Texas against Rick Porcello—both went 14-9 this season.
Cabrera’s double in the fifth put the Tigers ahead 2-1 and he added a towering solo homer in the seventh.
Victor Martinez and Jhonny Peralta also went deep for the Tigers. Austin Jackson broke out of his postseason slump with three hits, including an RBI single.
Texas right-hander Colby Lewis, who entered 4-0 in five postseason starts, allowed four runs and eight hits in 5 2-3 innings. He struck out six and walked two.
“He throws strikes and every now and then he’s going to give up some long balls. I thought it was a pretty good ballgame,” Rangers manager Ron Washington said. “He kept us in the ballgame. It was Fister that did the job out there tonight.”
Stung by Nelson Cruz’s game-ending grand slam Monday, the Tigers returned home hoping to shake out of their offensive funk. They fell behind 1-0 when Fister allowed three consecutive singles to start the game, but the 6-foot-8 right-hander held the Rangers in check after that, even striking out Cruz to end the seventh as the towel-waving crowd at Comerica Park roared its approval.
After leaving 22 runners on base in the first two games, the Tigers struggled again early on against Lewis. Detroit had two on with one out in the second, but Alex Avila and Ryan Raburn both struck out.
Lewis struck out five in the first three innings, but Martinez led off the fourth with a homer to right to tie it at 1.
Martinez, who hit .330 this season despite groin, knee and back problems, appeared to hurt himself on his home run swing, laboring slowly around the bases after the ball cleared the fence. When he returned to the dugout, his head still down, he slammed his helmet down as he descended the steps toward the clubhouse.
Detroit was already playing without injured outfielders Delmon Young, Magglio Ordonez and Brennan Boesch, and it wasn’t clear whether Martinez—the designated hitter—would be able to continue. But he was back in the fifth, standing near the on-deck circle with Cabrera at the plate.
Last updated: 6:45 pm Thursday, December 13, 2012