ST. PETERSBURG, FL - AUGUST 25: Outfielder Austin Jackson #14 of the Detroit Tigers rounds third base after a first-inning home run against the Tampa Bay Rays August 25, 2011 at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Florida. (Photo by Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images)

Tigers At Rays: Detroit Takes Series Finale, 2-0

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Tigers Take Series Finale From Rays, 2-0

St. Petersburg, FL (Sports Network) - Austin Jackson hit a solo homer and drove in two runs and Doug Fister tossed seven scoreless innings to lift the Detroit Tigers over the Tampa Bay Rays, 2-0, in the finale of a four-game series.

Fister (6-13) gave up five hits and struck out five batters for the Tigers, who hold a 6 1/2-game lead over the Indians in the AL Central.

Desmond Jennings, Casey Kotchman and Sam Fuld had two hits apiece for the Rays, who went 4-3 on a seven-game homestand.

Jeremy Hellickson (11-9) allowed two runs on six hits over seven innings to take the hard-luck loss. He struck out seven and walked one.

The Tigers jumped out to a quick 1-0 lead, as Jackson led off the game with a homer to left.

Detroit added a run in the fifth. Ryan Raburn led off with a double to left, moved to third on Omir Santos' groundout and scored on Jackson's sac fly for a 2-0 margin.

Fister was perfect through four innings, but that came to an end in the home fifth. With one out, Kotchman hit a sharp liner to third. Wilson Betemit couldn't handle the ball and Kotchman reached on an infield single. Fuld's two-out single put men on first and second. Sean Rodriguez struck out swinging to end the inning.

The Tigers had a runner thrown out at home in the sixth. Victor Martinez hit a one-out double and tried to score on Betemit's bloop single to right. A strong throw home allowed catcher Kelly Shoppach to make a nice tag on Martinez.

Tampa Bay stranded men on second and third in the seventh.

The Rays put men on the corners in the ninth. Jose Valverde walked Kotchman and gave up a single to Matt Joyce with one out. Joyce took off running on Fuld's fly ball to right. Raburn made the catch and tossed to first for the easy game-ending double play. Valverde picked up his 38th save of the season.

The Tigers placed first baseman Miguel Cabrera on paternity leave and recalled catcher Santos from Triple-A Toledo...Detroit outfielder Brennan Boesch (thumb) missed the game...The Rays were without outfielder B.J. Upton (shoulder)...Fister improved to 2-2 in five career meetings with Tampa Bay...The Tigers have won six of seven.


Rays End Tigers' Winning Streak In 10th Inning

Tampa Bay ended Detroit’s winning streak at five games with a strange game-winning fielder’s choice in the bottom of the 10th inning for a 3-2 win.

With the bases loaded and two outs, Tigers reliever Duane Below induced a ground ball by Elliot Johnson to third baseman Brandon Inge. Inge took the short throw to second base, but Sean Rodriguez was called safe at the bag, allowing Ben Zobrist to score the winning run.

It was another low-scoring affair in Tampa, with the winning team scoring five runs or less in all three games during the four game series. Austin Jackson got the Tigers on the board first with a sacrifice fly in the third inning, but Evan Longoria homered again in the fourth — his second of the series — to tie the game.

Former Tiger Johnny Damon doubled in a run in the fifth to give the Rays the lead, but Alex Avila continued his scorching August with a solo homer down the right field line to tie it back up.

Wade Davis started for the Rays and went nine innings, yet was only able to earn a no-decision. He allowed four hits and two runs on just 102 pitches.

Max Scherzer gave up four hits and two runs as well, but a high pitch count chased him after the fifth inning. Daniel Schlereth, Ryan Perry, David Pauley and Below (0-2) combined to finish the game.

Though Detroit dropped the game, they remained six games ahead of Cleveland, who lost earlier to Seattle. Chicago is also six games back and is in Los Angeles on Wednesday.


Tigers' Miguel Cabrera To Miss Thursday's Game

The Detroit Tigers will be without first baseman Miguel Cabrera on Thursday when they wrap up their series against the Tampa Bay Rays. The reason? Cabrera's wife is being induced into labor and is set to give birth.

The Tigers will place Cabrera on the paternity list, but according to MLive's Chris Iott, Cabrera should be back with the team on Friday.

Miguel Cabrera will be on paternity list and will miss game Thursday. Expected back Friday in Minnesota.

With Cabrera headed to the paternity list, the Tigers will be able to call up a player for a day. Iott speculates that catcher Omir Santos will get the call, which would make a lot of sense since the Tigers would finally be able to give Alex Avila a day off. Because of Victor Martinez's injury issues as of late, he hasn't been able to catch. This has forced Avila to start 17 straight games at catcher (18 after Wednesday night). His hitting numbers have been unreal during this stretch, but I'm sure the Tigers would like to get him out from behind the plate for a day, and this could be their chance.


Tigers Join 70-Win Club, Steal Second Game From Rays

With David Price on the mound it didn’t look good for the Detroit Tigers. After all, they had never beaten the Tampa lefty and had scored just five runs in five games against him.

Well, all that changed on Tuesday.

Runs were at a premium again, but they were enough as Brad Penny pitched 6 1/3 innings of one-run ball to help the Tigers beat Price and the Rays, 2-1.

Penny (9-9) gave up eight hits and struck out just two, but only allowed Ben Zobrist’s run-scoring double in the third inning to make it to the scoreboard. Phil Coke pitched the eighth and ninth innings to get the save, striking out five and get out of a two-on, two-out jam in the final frame.

Price (11-11) entered the game with a 3-0 record against Detroit and a 2.11 ERA. He had Tigers hitters batting .222 against him.

But Detroit got all the runs they’d need in the seventh on Alex Avila’s RBI double that tied the game and Jhonny Peralta’s sacrifice fly that scored the winning run.

Price was pretty effective despite the loss, pitching eight innings, giving up six hits and striking out six.

Detroit (70-58) moved six games ahead of second-place Chicago (playing Tuesday night in Los Angeles) and Cleveland, who split a double-header Tuesday with Seattle.


Justin Verlander Picks Up 19th Win In 5-2 Tigers Victory Over Rays

Justin Verlander frustrated the Tampa Bay Rays with seven innings of three-hit ball to pick up his major league-leading 19th win in a 5-2 Tigers victory.

Verlander (19-5) gave up a leadoff homer in the bottom of the first to Matt Joyce, but would surrender no more runs the rest of the way. Verlander struck out eight and walked three batters on 116 pitches.

Cleveland lost 3-2 on Monday against Seattle to push the Tigers’ lead in the AL Central to a season-high 5 1/2 games. Detroit (69-58) is 11 games over .500 for the first time all year and no longer holds the worst winning percentage among MLB division leaders — a distinction that now belongs at least temporarily to Arizona (69-59).

The idle Chicago White Sox moved into second place.

Alex Avila hit a two-run homer in the top of the second to give Detroit a 2-1 lead that almost was enough for the win. The Tigers scored two runs in the eighth and got a Don Kelly solo home run in the ninth to give Verlander some insurance, just in case.

The runs were needed after Tigers closer Jose Valverde started off the bottom of the ninth with a solo homer to Evan Longoria that cut the lead to 5-2. Valverde put the tying run at the plate after a single and a walk, but was able to retire the side without further damage.

Delmon Young and Jhonny Peralta had two hits apiece for Detroit, including Peralta’s two-out RBI single in the eighth that pushed two runs across with the bases loaded.

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