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Doug Fister strikes out 13 as Tigers take complete control of Central Division

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Tigers starter Doug Fister struck out a career-high 13 batters as the Tigers beat the Indians 4-2. Detroit leads the division by 7.5 games.
Tigers starter Doug Fister struck out a career-high 13 batters as the Tigers beat the Indians 4-2. Detroit leads the division by 7.5 games.


Final - 9.5.2011 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Detroit Tigers 0 0 0 3 0 0 0 1 0 4 5 2
Cleveland Indians 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 1 0 2 4 0
WP: Doug Fister (7 - 13)
SV: Jose Valverde (41)
LP: Ubaldo Jimenez (2 - 2)

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BOX

KEY STAT

13: When did Doug Fister become a strikeout pitcher? (Apparently when he noticed the Mariners defense wasn't standing behind him!) Sure, the Indians helped matters, but Fister receives credit for being totally on his game. His 13 strikeouts were a career high.

KEY PLAY

Victor Martinez hit a 3-run home run in the fourth inning to give Detroit all the runs they would need. Indians starter Ubaldo Jimenez was throwing a no-hitter until a one-out hit in the fourth off the bat of Delmon Young.

KEY THOUGHTS

The Tigers now lead the division by 7.5 games over the Indians. The magic number is 16. The last time Detroit led the division by more than 7 games was Aug. 22, 2006. Finally, Detroit trails the Rangers by just 1/2 game for the No. 2 seed in the AL. OK, all the fun stuff is out of the way.

Really, all the Tigers needed in this series was to avoid the sweep. Obviously taking more than one game is gravy and ends the division race that much faster, but one win would be enough to make it very difficult for the Indians to claw back into division contention with three weeks remaining. So this was a great way to begin things. Hopefully Rick Porcello keeps the win streak going against Fausto Carmona tomorrow, and Justin Verlander takes the mound Wednesday.

So how do those July 31 trades look right now? Doug Fister came to the Tigers for Charlie Furbush and Casper Wells. Detroit is 5-2 when Fister starts the game. He allowed more than two earned runs in a game just once. Meanwhile, the Indians are 3-4 when Ubaldo Jimenez starts a game, and he allowed two-or-fewer earned runs just twice.

Obviously what the Tigers have been doing the past couple of weeks can't be credited just to Fister, or just to Delmon Young, or just to Wilson Betemit. The three acquisitions were key, but the guys putting on the Tigers uniform all year long have really stepped up as well. It's a team game, and you have to search pretty hard to find someone who isn't contributing positively in the past month.

It's pretty fun right now, isn't it?

OTHER NEWS

Brennan Boesch's surgery will be performed sometime this week, it sounds like. Omir Santos was recalled from Triple-A Toledo.

STANDINGS


AL Central Standings

W L PCT GB STRK
Detroit 79 62 .560 0 Won 4
Cleveland 70 68 .507 7.5 Lost 1
Chicago 68 69 .496 9 Lost 4
Minnesota 58 81 .417 20 Lost 2
Kansas City 58 83 .411 21 Lost 1

(updated 9.5.2011 at 4:26 PM EDT)