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Avila homers, Fister pleases with a quality start, Tigers Beat Rangers 5-4

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Final - 8.3.2011 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Texas Rangers 0 0 0 2 1 0 0 0 1 4 10 1
Detroit Tigers 0 2 1 0 0 1 0 1 X 5 10 1
WP: Doug Fister (4 - 12)
SV: Jose Valverde (30)
LP: Matt Harrison (9 - 8)

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BOX

KEY PLAY

That would be Alex Avila's sixth-inning homer, which put the Tigers over the top. Of course, nobody could blame you if you preferred the Ryan Raburn homer in the eighth that cemented the victory.

KEY STAT

New Tiger Doug Fister's pitching line: W, 7 IP, 8 H, 3 R, 2 ER. Would more strikeouts be nice? Probably. But it's nice to not have to reach for the antacid when the 5th starter's spot comes up anymore.

KEY THOUGHTS

Well, that's a hell of a way to endear yourself to a fanbase (David Purcey, take notes). Doug Fister took the ball and handed in seven quality innings in order to keep Detroit in the game. More importantly, he kept Detroit's weak bullpen out the game for quite a while. Fister had a rough couple of innings in the middle of the game, though defensive miscues (looking at you Wilson Betemit) made things a bit rougher than fans probably would have liked. Of course, Fister was probably okay with sacrificing some defense for the run support he received, as he picked up his fourth(!) win on the season.

And that offense did a pretty good job tonight. Three singles and a walk in the second inning yielded two runs (probably more than Fister was used to). A Miguel Cabrera double in the third scored Austin Jackson for yet another run (though the double made Magglio Ordonez's double play earlier that inning hurt even more). Alex Avila (2-3, HR) and Ryan Raburn (3-4, HR) added crucial late innings homers later in the game to put it out of Texas' reach, though Jose Valverde tried to make it interesting by giving up a homer to Mike Napoli in the ninth.

Speaking of Alex Avila, though, Jim Leyland's decision to have his All-Star catcher bunt in the fourth inning (so that Jhonny Peralta and Raburn could advance) was absolutely baffling. Taking the bat out of the hands of one of the most valuable hitters on the Tigers is bad enough, but to do so when he was followed by two significantly worse hitters in Wilson Betemit and Austin Jackson cost the team, probably on the scoreboard.