It took better than one-third of the season and two stints on the disabled list, but the Tigers' Doug Fister finally broke into the win column with an outstanding performance after his first game back in 19 days.
Fister has battled through a pulled stomach muscle which occurred in his first start of the season and has hampered his efforts to continue the hot stretch he finished with in 2011.
Fister (1-3) was razor-sharp, giving the Rockies all they could handle through six-innings, allowing just three hits while striking out six and walking one. His swing-back fastball and two-seamer were money and allowed Fister to take early control of the game, sitting down the first 11 Colorado hitters he faced.
Phil Coke provided strong relief in the seventh and eighth while earning his 11th hold of the season for the Tigers. Joaquin Benoit allowed the only Colorado run via a Michael Cuddyer ground-out which scored Carlos Gonzalez from third. Gonzalez ripped a double to lead off the ninth.
An outfield throwing error by Don Kelly allowed him to advance to third.
Benoit was called upon to finish the game for Detroit in lieu of Tigers' closer Jose Valverde who wasn't an option today after getting smoked for seven runs in Detroit's 10th-inning loss on Friday night.
The Tigers offense was led by slugger Miguel Cabrera's two-out solo home run in the first inning of Colorado starter Christian Friedrich giving Detroit an early 1-0 lead.
Cabrera got Detroit on the board again in the fifth when he rounded all bases on a ball that didn't make it past the infield grass.
Cabrera hit a sharp liner back at Friedrich whose glove got a piece of the ball, but a throwing error on the play at first allowed Cabrera to move all the way to third. Things didn't get better for Colorado when catcher Wilin Rosario committed the second throwing error of the play attempting to pin Cabrera out at third. Instead, he allowed him to trot home and score—better known in the baseball world as a "Little League Home Run."
Albeit with errors and not counting as a stat-line homer, Cabrera hit two of the most opposing home runs possible and scored twice for the Tigers.
Austin Jackson also contributed to Detroit's opportunities on the basepaths, working Colorado pitching for four walks on the day and an RBI. Ramon Santiago also chipped in with two hits on the day to equaling Cabrera as the only Tigers with two hits on the day.
Detroit, 6-4 in their last 10 games, is inching back toward the top of the AL standings, and now, sit only three games under .500 and 3.5 games back of divisional leader Chicago. Chicago is 3-7 in their last 10 having lost three straight after entering June as the hottest team in baseball.
The Tigers will close their three-game series with Colorado tomorrow. The rubber match will pit Colorado's Jeremy Guthrie (3-5) against Detroit's Max Scherzer (5-4) who hasn't lost a game in his last three starts and will look to lower his 5.76 ERA en route to a third straight series victory for the Tigers.
Box score stats provided by mlb.com.
Bleacher Report Featured Columnist J. Cook is a member of B/R's MLB Coverage Team and contributes to B/R's MLB content and Detroit Tigers page. He also covers key sport interest stories for all of Detroit's major sports teams.
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