Tigers 3, Red Sox 0: Doug Fister's seven scoreless innings, Jose Iglesias' defensive clinic lead shutout victory

Darren McCollester

Miguel Cabrera out of the lineup a third straight day, the Tigers won with pitching and defense. Doug Fister tossed seven shutout innings, much in thanks to acrobatic defensive plays by shortstop Jose Iglesias.


Final - 9.2.2013 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Detroit Tigers 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 1 0 3 8 0
Boston Red Sox 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 6 1
WP: Doug Fister (12 - 7)
SV: Jose Veras (21)
LP: John Lackey (8 - 12)

A battle between teams with the top two records in the American League turned into a pitcher's duel, the Detroit Tigers scoring runs in the seventh and eighth innings to take down the Boston Red Sox 3-0. The Tigers rested a banged-up Miguel Cabrera for a third straight game, winning two of the three.

Tigers' starter Doug Fister no-hit the Red Sox for 3 2/3 innings, ultimately allowing four hits, four walks and striking out four over seven shutout innings. Fister's 12th win is  a career high for the 6'8" right-hander. Jose Veras pitched the ninth, earning his 21st save, his second as a Tiger

John Lackey went toe-to-toe with Fister for six innings, but allowed three runs in his final 1 1/3 innings of work. A hard-luck Lackey took the loss, giving up seven hits, three runs, walking one and striking out five.

The Tigers had only eight hits on the day, but scratched across three runs. Andy Dirks tripled in the Tigers' first run in the seventh, Don Kelly bounced into a double play to plate the second. Prince Fielder accounted for the Tigers' second RBI and third run with an eighth inning sacrifice fly. Austin Jackson was the only Tiger to reach base more than once, adding two hits and scoring the Tigers' final run.

What little Red Sox offense was supplied by Daniel Nava, who reached base four times on three hits and a base on balls.

In a game between two evenly matched teams, the Tigers did more right than the Red Sox. Much in thanks to ex-Red Sox shortstop Jose Iglesias, who showed just how he can turn the game around with his defense. Every time Fister was in trouble, Iglesias would help extinguish a threat by turning a miraculous double play. Jhonny Peralta, as good as he was with the bat, only dreams of making those defensive plays. If the Tigers have Peralta playing short today, it's quite likely an entirely different game.

The game starting with the lights on and under the threat of rain, lead off man Austin Jackson doubled into the left field corner. John Lackey proceeded to pitch out of trouble, with a little help from Dustin Pedroia. Pedroia made a diving stop on Victor Martinez's two out ground ball, robbing him of a base hit, saving a run and ending the inning.

Doug Fister gave the Red Sox a scoring opportunity right off the bat, putting the first two batters he faced on base. Jacoby Ellsbury walked, joined the base paths by Shane Victorino when Fister made him his 16th hit by pitch victim of the season. Fister deftly pitched out of trouble, thanks to the pitcher's BFF, the double play. Pedroia sent a comebacker to Fister, starting a 1-6-3 twin killing.

Fister would go on to strand Ellsbury on third, David Ortiz bouncing out to Prince Fielder. A lead off walk which didn't lead to a run? Who knew?

"Somebody tells me they practice a play like that, they're lying." -Jim Leyland describing Jose Iglesias' double play

Bottom of two, it was more of the same for Fister - free passes for everyone. Eight of his first nine pitches we called balls, walking Daniel Nava and Mike Napoli (though he sure appeared to be getting a tad squeezed).

The count 2-2, Jarrod Saltalamacchia hit a hard ground ball to second, allowing the middle of the Tigers' infield to bail Fister out for a second straight inning. Omar Infante tossed to Jose Iglesias, who made an acrobatic leaping throw as he was clipped by Napoli, in what sure appeared to be a very dirty slide, yet still turning the double play.

Dirty_medium

Slide? More like a goalie's kick save.

Fister would finish off his Matrix-like bullet dodging when Stephen Drew flew out, the Red Sox stranding a runner at third for the second straight inning.

One out in the top of third, after receiving a nice ovation from Red Sox fans, Iglesias lined a double to left, the second of the game for Detroit. The teams continued to trade off wasted opportunities, Lackey striking out Jackson, Hunter ending the inning on a nubber in front of the plate.

Fister finally had an inning in which he didn't walk anyone, setting the Red Sox down in order to end the third.

Top of four, Fielder led off the inning with the Tigers' third double of the game, a gapper to right center. Lackey wild pitched the the big man to third, where the Tigers proceeded to blow a third scoring opportunity. Martinez's was called out on his swinging bunt, running out of the base line which forced a bad throw by Saltalamacchia. First pitch swinging, Andy Dirks popped up to shallow right, far too shallow for Fielder to tag. The squander was completed when Infante flew out to left center.

Despite pitching in and out of trouble, Fister actually carried a no-hitter into the fourth. His bid for a no-no ended before it could really get started, Nava singling with two down in the fourth. Fister then started a string of strikeouts, three straight before Will Middlebrooks (who should have been punched out with the count 2-2), singled with two down in the fifth. Ellsbury ended the fifth with a liner to center.

Through five full innings, the game remained scoreless. The Tigers' starting pitching had not allowed a run in 12 consecutive innings. But the Tigers' offense hadn't scored in 14.

Make it 15 innings, Lackey tossing a 1-2-3 top of the sixth. Jebus.

As he's done on almost a daily basis. Iglesias made another jaw dropping play in the bottom of the sixth. Victorino on base with a lead off single, the Red Sox called for the hit and run, Pedroia hitting a ground ball up the middle on the second base side of the bag. Iglesias, who was on his way cover second, just kept going past the bag, fielded the grounder, tagged Victorino, did a 360 spin, then fired to first for a remarkable double play.

(JAW DROPS)

Honestly, calling it remarkable undersells just how good of a play it truly was.

To be honest, "SQUEEEE" is pretty much the same sound I made.

The pitcher's duel having lasted seven innings, both teams were desperate to get a run on the scoreboard.

As he has done for the last three months, Martinez hit the ball damn hard. Leading off the seventh, Martinez found green with his liner, singling to left. Dirks has also been seeing the ball well as of late, as shown by his 1.038 OPS over his last ten games. His hot hitting continued, smashing a drive to the deepest part of Fenway, Ellsbury unable to run the ball down as it landed at the 420' mark in center. Martinez had played it safe, thinking Ellsbury might make the play, and had to get on his horse to beat the throw home. As Martinez slid home with the first run of the game, Dirks cruised into third with a standup triple.

"I really, truly believe he's running better since the surgery. That's not fast..." -Leyland, when asked about Victor Martinez scoring from first base

Infante worked a long at bat into a walk. Runners on the corners for Don Kelly, he bounced into a convoluted double play. On a high chopper to second, Pedroia went to tag Infante, who retreated toward first. Realizing Kelly was motoring down the base path, he gave up on Infante, throwing to first. Napoli then fired to second, Drew slapping the tag on Infante. While the Red Sox were playing pickle, Dirks was crossing the plate for the Tigers' second run.

Up 2-0 in the bottom of the seventh, the Tigers needed a shutdown inning  from Fister. He would get it, but in a roundabout, white-knuckle way by first putting the first two batters on base. Nava's fly ball found the gap in right center for a two base hit. Napoli then walked on five pitches. Remarkably, even though Saltalamacchia entered the game a career 5-for-8 against Fister, Red Sox manager John Farrell had his catcher squaring around to bunt.

As Tigers fans cheered on the decision, Saltalamacchia made a bad decision worse by dropping an awful bunt.  Avila grabbed on one hop, quickly throwing to Kelly at third to nail the lead runner. Fister made the most of being given a free out, inducing ground outs from Drew and Middlebrooks to pitch out of a two on, no one out jam.

Lackey still toeing the slab in the eighth, the Tigers ran themselves into a scoring opportunity. That's not a typo, the RAN the bases well, puttying two runners in scoring position with one down.

Jackson singled, then stole his first base since June 16. (I actually thought it had been longer). Hunter followed with a single up the middle, Jackson holding up at third. Even though Jackson had showed no sign of trying to score, Ellsbury airmailed the cutoff man, Hunter smartly taking second on the throw.

Farrell had seen enough of Lackey and called on lefty Matt Thornton to face Fielder. The big first baseman would give the Tigers an insurance run with a line drive to right, Jackson tagging up on the sacrifice fly to make it 3-0 Tigers.

Fister was pulled after 112 pitches and seven shutout innings. Getting the setup duties in the eighth was PHIL COKE? Yes, Phil Coke.

EVERYBODY PANIC!

False alarm. Turns out Coke was just on LOOGY duty. He did his job to perfection, Ellsbury bouncing out to Iglesias.

Leyland went back to the pen for Bruce Rondon, where the rookie learned what the Green Monster may giveth, it can also taketh away. Two out, Pedroia yanked a Rondon slider to left, but missed clearing the Green Monster by a foot. It would have been a home run in any other park, but in Boston, it's a double.

"I went with the stuff, instead of righty-lefty." -Leyland on using Bruce Rondon in the eighth

Ortiz at the plate, Rondon fired a fastball under Avila's glove and to the backstop, Pedroia advancing to third. In a battle of power versus power, young beat old. After Ortiz managed to foul off a couple of 102-103 MPH two strike pitches. Rondon reared back to fire a 101 MPH fastball past Big Papi for strike three.  Threat over.

Thornton still pitching for the Red Sox, Kelly dropped a two out Texas leaguer in short left. Nava overran the ball, allowing Donnie Baseball to leg it to second on the E7. The Tigers couldn't tack on a fourth run, Thornton striking out Avila to strand Kelly.

Joaquin Benoit had been given the day off, meaning Jose Veras was on closer duty. He was handed a save opportunity, the Tigers up 3-0 with three outs to go. As a precaution, Drew Smyly and Al Alburquerque were warming up.

Nava's seeing eye dribbler got through the right side (It appeared Fielder might have had a play, but he headed for the bag). Being Hunter was playing overly deep (and may have taken his time), Nava was able to leg out an easy double.

Veras went to a 3-2 count on Napoli before inducing a pop up for the first out. Another batter, another 3-2 count for Veras, another out. Saltalamacchia bounced to second for the second out. Antoher batter ... wait, no 3-2 count against Drew, Veras stopped messing around, throwing a high fastball past Drew for the game ending strikeout.

It wasn't a pretty save for Veras. In fact, it was Todd Jones-like, Jose Valverde-eaque. But a save is a save is a save. It just says "S, 21" in the box score.

GAME OVER.

Your final score is Tigers 3, Red Sox 0.

A nice win to start a nine game road trip has the Tigers just 1/2 game back of the Red Sox (82-57, .590) for the best record in the AL at 81-57, .587. With the Indians losing (and having lost Justin Masterson mid-start to what appears to be an oblique injury), the Tigers' lead in the Central returns to their season high water mark of 8 1/2 games.

Game two in Boston features Max Scherzer (19-1, 2.90 ERA) going for win number 20 against Red Sox lefty Jon Lester (12-8, 3.99 ERA). Lester may have a career 5.26 ERA versus the Tigers, but has been pitching quite well as of late, 4-2 with a 2.97 ERA in the second half.  In his last three starts, Lester is 2-1 with a sterling 1.66 ERA. Scherzer is coming off his worst start of the season, allowing a season-high six runs (five earned) on eight hits over five innings in a no-decision to the Athletics. It was a rare bump in the road for Scherzer, who is 6-0 with a 2.18 ERA in eight post All-Star game starts. Fenway Park first pitch is 7:10 PM.

WIN PROBABILITY GRAPH:


Source: FanGraphs

BULLETS:

The Tigers lost on Sunday, EVERYBODY PANI ... wait, what?

Miguel Cabrera sat out his third straight game due to his nagging injuries. The first two games Jim Leyland used Torii hunter in the three spot in the batting order. Today, he just moved Prince Fielder and Victor Martinez up in the order, batting third and fourth respectively. Fielder has a career .815 OPS with 32 home runs and 89 RBIs in 576 career at bats in the three spot, all while with the Brewers. Martinez has had some success batting cleanup with an .844 OPS, 57 home runs and 291 RBIs in 1499 career at bats. In their temporary slots, Fielder would go 1-for-3 with an RBI, Martinez 1-for-4 with a run scored.

Another game, another Doug Fister hit by pitch. It's who he is, it's what he does.

What's surprising is Fister is only tied for the MLB lead. The Indians' Justin Masterson also hits batters at will, with 16 plunks of his own.

Just as Tigers fans bitch when Jim Leyland asks players to do something they rarely, if ever, are asked to do, Red Sox fans reacted the same way when Jerrod Saltalamacchia was asked to bunt (failing miserably) in the seventh.

Say what you will about their playing Sweet Caroline during the seventh inning stretch at Fenway, the Tigers sure were enjoying it.

Sweet_medium

FSD stat of the game: Before the arrival of Jose Iglesias, the Tigers were 12th in AL double plays with 85. They've turned 34 since, second overall in the AL.

Iggy_medium

What's with the beard fetish on the Red Sox?

Salty:

Salty_medium

Mike Napoli:

Napoli_medium

Mike Carp:

Carp_medium

Do they share a remote mountain cabin in the off season?

Good news!

THREE ROARS:

Doug Fister: With seven shutout frames, Tigers' starters have tossed 14 straight scoreless innings.

Austin Jackson: The only Tiger to have two hits, stole his first base in what seems like forever and scored a run.

Jose Iglesias: In his return to Boston, Iglesias turned a pair of highlight reel double plays to bail Fister out of early trouble, and added a double.

BONUS ROARS:

Bruce Rondon: His winning a battle with David Ortiz by firing 100 MPH fastball after 100 MPH fastball was a game highlight.

Andy Dirks: Broke the scoreboard ice with a long triple to center, giving the Tigers a lead they would never relinquish.

TWO HISSES:

Red Sox beards: I have facial hair too, but when you look as if you've been lost in the wilderness for months, get out the clippers!

Sweet Caroline: It's played out, Boston.

ROLL CALL:

Roll Call Info
Total comments 1,042
Total commenters 42
Commenter list AriTwice, BadCompany22, BigAl, Cabbylander, DJ Screw, Designated for Assignment, DetroitSports, Emil Sitka, Fielder'sChoice, Grzesio, J_the_Man, Jacob30, KGW, Keith-Allen, MSUDersh, Michigan&TrumbullinLA, MotorCityCat, NCDee, SanDiegoMick, Scherzerblueeye, Singledigit, SonataArctica, SpartanBoiler, SpartanHT, Thorpac, Tigerdog1, TomduhB, Verlanderful, WestsideTigersfan, ahtrap, bowling255, datamonger, dishnet34, dominator039, draykov44, frisbeepilot, jon.erkkila.9, josejose50, stevenyc, texastigerfan, thanantos, xBlazingSaddles
Story URLs http://www.blessyouboys.com/2013/9/2/4685658/game-138-tigers-at-red-sox-1-35-p-mhttp://www.blessyouboys.com/2013/9/2/4687182/game-138-overflow

TOP TEN COMMENTERS:

# Commenter # Comments
1 SanDiegoMick 132
2 texastigerfan 118
3 frisbeepilot 110
4 SpartanHT 88
5 stevenyc 75
6 WestsideTigersfan 72
7 Scherzerblueeye 60
8 BadCompany22 38
9 TomduhB 35
10 Verlanderful 34

TOP RECS:

# Recs Commenter Comment Link
6 NCDee The Tigers. United. Will Never Be Defeated.
2 stevenyc Once again Jackson refuses to dive
2 stevenyc [no title]

GAME 137 PLAYER OF THE GAME:

Justin Verlander had a shaky start, but settled in to shut out the Indians on four hits over seven innings. Verlander's performance easily took the PotG vote with 89%.

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