Doug Fister and his Tigers teammates made sure the home crowd go a thrill in Detroit's final regular-season game of 2012 -- but it may have been a little more excitement than was called for under the circumstances.
Fister set both Tigers franchise and American League records by striking out nine consecutive batters between the fourth and seventh innings. But more importantly, the Tigers walked off with a 5-4 victory, completing a series sweep of the Royals and temporarily moving 1 1/2 games ahead of the White Sox in the Central Division race.
But it unraveled in the eighth inning -- and quickly. After retiring 16 consecutive Royals, Fister allowed Mike Moustakas a double to lead off the eighth to end the streak. Outs were suddenly hard to come by. Jeff Francoeur, Johnny Giavotella and Tony Abreu each drove in a run before Fister was finally pulled from the game. Phil Coke got the final out to escape any trouble, however.
Fister allowed three runs on five hits, striking out 10 in 7 2/3 innings.
However, Joaquin Benoit was not so lucky. Nursing a 4-3 lead, he allowed a leadoff home run to Billy Butler for the tie game.
But that only served to set up the walk-off celebration.
Prince Fielder doubled to lead off the inning. Well, officially doubled. He hit a ball over the pitcher's head, and the Royals did the rest. After loading the bases, the Tigers walked off with the win when Alex Avila ripped a 3-2 pitch down the first base line. It was fielded for the out, but Royals first baseman Brayan Pena was unable to make a play to get out of the inning before Don Kelly scored.
The White Sox start a four game series with the Rays tonight in Chicago.
Detroit ends its regular season on the road, traveling to Minnesota for a weekend series.