Originally posted on Pro Sports Daily  |  Last updated 9/2/13
In the land of slugfests there was no slugging. Just two first-place teams searching for runs — with only the Tigers finding some. Using Andy Dirks’ triple in the seventh to generate two runs and Austin Jackson’s first stolen base since June 16 to manufacture another the Tigers downed the Red Sox 3-0 at Fenway Park on Monday — getting seven shutout innings from Doug Fister (12-7) in the process. The victory lifted the Tigers (81-57) to within a half game of the Sox for the best record in the American League — the prize of home-field advantage through the Championship Series going to the team that ends up with the best won-loss percentage. Dirks tripled off losing pitcher John Lackey (8-12) on a hit-and-run to drive in Victor Martinez from first with the Tigers’ first run. Dirks scored the second run on a double play. “We were kind of stagnant there” said manager Jim Leyland “so we put Victor in motion. This sounds crazy because he’s obviously not a runner but I truly believe he’s running better than before the knee injury. “That’s not fast but that’s better.” Jackson singled and stole second in the eighth. He took third on a single by Torii Hunter and scored on Prince Fielder’s sacrifice fly. Hoping to swipe more bases this season Jackson had five in his first 18 games but only one in his last 87 — before this one. With Miguel Cabrera out for a third consecutive game the Tigers adjusted their lineup by having Fielder hitting third (for the first time since 2010) and Martinez hitting cleanup (for the first time since 2011). According to a pregame radio interview of Tigers’ general manager and president Dave Dombrowski however it sounds as if Cabrera could return to the lineup soon. Leyland made it sound that way too. “I think he’s feeling much much better” Leyland said. “I’m just waiting for medical clearance and when I get it I’ll put him back in there.” With a 1-4 career record against Boston and ending up with a season high four walks Fister looked vulnerable early what with the Sox putting their first two hitters on in the first two innings. Both times though a groundball that the Tigers turned into two outs bailed him out. “Keeping the ball down kept them off balance” Fister said of the Sox. The Tigers’ third double play was yet another display of Jose Iglesias’ athleticism as he twisted to tag out Shane Victorino near second base in the sixth then threw off balance but accurately to get Dustin Pedroia at first.
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