This was a game that the Indians needed to win, but they couldn't pull it off.
Ubaldo Jimenez made one mistake, but that mistake was a three-run homer. Doug Fister made one mistake, but that only cost the Tigers one run. That was the difference in the game, and probably the season. The Indians came into the series down 6.5 games, and for them to have any realistic chance of catching the Tigers only their last 25 games would be to sweep Detroit. Now at best they'll head out on the road down 5.5 games with 22 games left, and making up that large a deficit would take an unrealistic Tigers collapse.
This game featured two starters added at the trading deadline. Doug Fister, who came over from Seattle, had a career day, striking out 13 Indians in eight innings while allowing just four hits and a walk. The outside corner was a generous one today, and Fister took advantage, getting ahead of virtually every Indians hitter. And once he was ahead in the count, he was able to get strikeouts with his two-seam fastball, curve, or four-seam fastball to either right-handed or left-handed batters. He controlled all his pitches impeccably, and the Indians' patient approach worked against them.
Fister's only jam occurred in the third inning. Jason Donald has hit by a pitch, then Ramon Santiago botched what could have been a double play to put runners on first and second with one out. After Grady Sizemore, who was playing for the first time since the middle of July, struck out, Kosuke Fukudome lined a single off Fister to load the bases. But Fister got ahead of Asdrubal Cabrera thanks to a generous strike call, and would get the strikeout to end the threat.
The Tigers took advantage of their one opportunity against Jimenez in the top of the fourth. Delmon Young singled with one out in the fourth, Miguel Cabrera worked a walk, and Victor Martinez jumped on a fastball down and in and hit it deep into the right field seats. Both hits Jimenez allowed happened in the same inning, but those were enough for Detroit. They would add a run in the eighth off Joe Smith, but didn't need it.
Jimenez went seven innings, striking out eight, but that one mistake cost him dearly. His fastball was tremendous, sitting at 94 or 95 on the gun, and often exactly on the edge of the strike zone. 15 days, had he thrown this exact game, he and the Indians would have cruised to victory. But not today.
The Indians scored a run in the fifth thanks to a throwing error by Fister, and would cut the deficit to 4-2 with Fukudome's eight inning solo shot. But two runs would be as close as they would get.
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