Fister retired his first 17 batters and then settled for a four-hitter in Detroit's 6-1 victory over the fading Cleveland Indians on Saturday night. His bid for a perfect game was broken up with two outs in the sixth inning when Ezequiel Carrera tripled over Austin Jackson's head in center field.
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Fister (6-7) finished with six strikeouts and didn't allow a run until the ninth, when Carrera tripled again and scored on a groundout. That cost Fister his first career shutout.
"I had some emotion running," Fister said. "It was, take a second to kind of regroup and kind of calm down, and go back to work. It was a good feeling."
Detroit trails the first-place Chicago White Sox in the AL Central by 1½ games.
Fister went 8-1 down the stretch for the Tigers in 2011 after being acquired in a trade. He went down in his first start this year with a strain on his left side, and he's only recently looked sharp on a consistent basis. This was his fifth straight quality start.
It was also the right-hander's first complete game since July 2 last season, when he was with Seattle.
"It's not coming -- it's there," catcher Alex Avila said. "You can't get any better than the way he's pitched his last few outings."
Ubaldo Jimenez (8-11) allowed six runs and seven hits in 5 1/3 innings for the Indians, who have lost eight consecutive games. It's their longest skid since dropping 11 straight in September 2009.
Cleveland hasn't had a quality start since July 26.
"I've never seen a streak of non-quality starts like this," said manager Manny Acta, who used to manage the Nationals. "Even in 2007, when we were rebuilding things in DC and we practically had to have a tryout camp to find four starters, I never remember a streak like this. We need someone to go out there and break this."
Infante added a sacrifice fly in the sixth.
The Indians have lost the first two games of the series by a combined 16-3.
The game was delayed for 37 minutes in the second inning when rain began coming down in sheets. For a little while, it was pretty much impossible to see the Detroit skyline beyond right field.
There was more rain on the way, but Fister worked quickly and the game finished with no further delays. He threw 107 pitches and the game took 2 hours, 19 minutes -- not counting the stoppage.
Carrera's first triple sailed over the head of Jackson, who has run down his share of deep fly balls at Comerica Park but couldn't reach this one.
That ended the perfect game, but Fister didn't seem concerned.
"It really didn't cross my mind, to tell you the truth," Fister said. "I go out there and just really focus on each pitch. Typically, I don't know what inning it is or how many outs there are but it's just a matter of going out there and throwing."
- Former Detroit INF Carlos Guillen was honored before the game by the Tigers and threw out the ceremonial first pitch. Guillen announced his retirement in March.
- Cleveland DH Travis Hafner was activated from the paternity list before the game, but he sat out because of back trouble.
- Detroit will try for a sweep Sunday when RHP Max Scherzer (10-6) takes the mound against LHP Chris Seddon. It will be Seddon's first big league appearance since October 2010.