NOAH TRISTER,AP Baseball Writer
DETROIT (AP) — Miguel Cabrera hit a two-run homer in the first inning and Prince Fielder added a solo shot in the eighth to help the Detroit Tigers avoid a three-game sweep with a 7-1 victory Wednesday night over the Cleveland Indians.
Detroit’s Doug Fister (8-8) allowed a run and four hits in seven innings. He struck out six and walked one.
Ubaldo Jimenez (9-15) gave up four runs and six hits in 7 1-3 innings. He was generally sharp after allowing Cabrera’s 35th homer of the year, but Detroit tacked on five more runs in the eighth to break it open.
The Tigers lost back-to-back 3-2 games to start this series but took the finale to remain a game behind the first-place Chicago White Sox in the AL Central.
Fister has been on the disabled list twice this season and also missed a start Aug. 25 because of a groin problem. He’s had Cleveland’s number lately, though. In his last seven starts against the Indians, he’s 5-1 with a 1.54 ERA.
Detroit is hoping for another big September from the right-hander. He went 5-0 with a 0.53 ERA in the month last year.
If Fister can stay healthy and provide quality outings, the Tigers could have a pretty formidable trio of starters for their playoff chase — with Justin Verlander and Max Scherzer also looking impressive.
Austin Jackson led off the Detroit first with a single. One out later, Cabrera homered to right.
Cleveland cut the margin in half in the fourth on an RBI single by Michael Brantley, who has hit safely in 16 straight games against Detroit.
Jimenez became the first major leaguer in 2012 to reach 15 losses. It looked like he might pitch his first complete game since coming to Cleveland in a midseason trade last year, but he was pulled in the eighth after Andy Dirks hit an RBI triple.
Dirks scored on a sacrifice fly by Cabrera. Fielder followed with his 24th homer of the season, and Jhonny Peralta made it 7-1 with a two-run double.
While the game was still close, Detroit reliever Joaquin Benoit walked Ezequiel Carrera to start the top of the eighth and fell behind 2-0 to pinch-hitter Casey Kotchman. After a visit from pitching coach Jeff Jones, Benoit got Kotchman to hit a routine fly to center.
Shin-soo Choo then grounded into a double play.
NOTES: Cleveland 3B Jason Donald was called out by umpire Jim Joyce on a very close play at first in the fifth. Joyce infamously called Donald safe at first in a game at Detroit in 2010, costing Tigers pitcher Armando Galarraga a perfect game. … Donald made a terrific catch in foul ground on Brennan Boesch’s popup in the fourth, holding on while tumbling over the railing and into the crowd. A young woman appeared shaken up but was able to walk away.
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