DETROIT — Doug Fister delivered another strong start in a game Detroit needed and Miguel Cabrera homered and hit a tiebreaking double to lead the Tigers past the Texas Rangers 5-2 Tuesday night in Game 3 of the AL championship series.
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. You’ve got to be patient.”
Game 4 is Wednesday 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.”
Detroit provided more than enough offense for Fister, who was terrific down the stretch after the Tigers acquired him in a trade with Seattle shortly before the July 31 deadline. He retired his final batter Tuesday on an unusual unassisted putout, fielding Endy Chavez’s grounder and then hustling over to first because Cabrera was well off the bag, trying to position himself for a potential play on the ball.
Printed on Thursday, October 13, 2011 as: Cruz delivers for Rangers in extras