Doug Fister is easily becoming the trade deadline’s best acquisition.
The Tigers’ starter whiffed 13 Indians batters in eight solid innings as Detroit beat Cleveland 4-2 in the first game of a critical three-game series.
Fister (7-13) has been instrumental in increasing Detroit’s AL Central Division lead, which now sits at 7 1/2 games over the Indians. MLive’s Chris Iott tweeted that Fister has fanned 37 batters against three walks since joining the Tigers (he later corrected his tweet of 36 strikeouts).
Victor Martinez gave Fister plenty of offense with one swing of the bat in the fourth inning, belting a three-run homer off Ubaldo Jimenez for a 3-0 lead. Jimenez was thought to be the prize of the trade deadline, but has been somewhat average since joining Cleveland.
The Indians cut the lead to 3-1 in the fifth on a RBI fielder’s choice groundout by Grady Sizemore. The teams traded runs in the eighth inning, giving Tigers closer Jose Valverde a 4-2 lead heading into the ninth. Valverde pitched a 1-2-3 ninth for his 41st save in as many tries.