DETROIT (AP) — The Detroit Tigers pulled off the win they badly needed, beating the Texas Rangers 5-2 on Tuesday to cut the deficit in the American League Championship Series to 2-1.
Detroit starting pitcher Doug Fister allowed only two runs and no walks in 7-1/3 innings, while Miguel Cabrera homered and hit a tiebreaking double.
Tigers closer Jose Valverde gave up a leadoff double in the ninth inning to bring the potential tying run on deck before a strikeout, groundout and flyout ended it.
"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. Matt Harrison starts for Texas against Detroit's Rick Porcello.
Stung by losing to Nelson Cruz's game-ending grand slam Monday, the Tigers returned home badly needing a win. They fell behind 1-0 when Fister allowed three consecutive singles to start the game.
After leaving 22 runners on base over the first two games, the Tigers struggled again early on against Texas starter Colby Lewis. Detroit had two on with one out in the second, but Alex Avila and Ryan Raburn both struck out — among the five strikeouts Lewis produced in the first three innings.
"He throws strikes and every now and then he's going to give up some long balls," Rangers manager Ron Washington said. "He kept us in the ballgame. It was Fister that did the job out there tonight."
Victor Martinez tied the game 1-1 when he led off the fourth inning with a homer. He hurt himself on his home run swing, laboring slowly around the bases after the ball cleared the fence. He went into the clubhouse with a back strain but rejoined the game.
In the fifth, Texas elected to pitch to Detroit slugger Cabrera when they could afford to walk him, with runners on first and third and two outs. Cabrera responded by lining a drive down the right-field line for a double, putting the hosts up 2-1.
"I'm not going to take another runner and put him at second base. The winning run is already at third base," Washington said. "We tried to make a pitch. Colby didn't get it there. Cabrera caught it."
Martinez, back in the game after having his back checked, was walked to load the bases but Don Kelly hit a check-swing grounder toward third to end the inning.
Detroit added two runs in the sixth. Jhonny Peralta led off with a homer, and Austin Jackson's RBI single made it 4-1. It was an encouraging night for Jackson, who entered 3 for 25 in the postseason with 14 strikeouts.
Cabrera's homer in the seventh, which stayed fair down the left-field line, was his second of the playoffs and made it 5-1.
Josh Hamilton cut the deficit with an RBI single to make it 5-2, but Detroit had provided more than enough offense for Fister, who was terrific for the Tigers after they acquired him in a trade with Seattle shortly before the July 31 deadline.
"Just stick with the same game plan," Fister said. "They hit a few groundballs that made it through the holes, and good hitters do. They came out firing and Alex and I just stuck with the game plan and used our defense. Tremendous plays out there, and that's the name of the game."