DETROIT (AP) — Doug Fister pitched seven scoreless innings in another terrific start for the Detroit Tigers, and Jose Valverde set a team record with his 43rd save in a 2-1 win over the Minnesota Twins on Sunday.
The AL Central-leading Tigers have won nine straight for the first time since 1984, when Detroit won the World Series.
Fister (8-13) allowed three hits, struck out five and walked two. Joaquin Benoit pitched the eighth, and Valverde allowed a run in the ninth but held on for his 43rd save in 43 chances.
Fister is 5-1 since being acquired from Seattle on July 30.
The Tigers extended their lead in the AL Central to 10 games, with the second-place Chicago White Sox still playing.
Minnesota starter Scott Diamond (1-4) allowed two runs, one earned, and seven hits in six innings. He struck out four and walked four.
The Twins have lost eight of nine.
Detroit scored both of its runs in the first. Delmon Young singled in Austin Jackson and Magglio Ordonez scored when Victor Martinez bounced into a double play.
Martinez ended up hitting into four double plays, becoming the first player to do that since Joe Torre on July 21, 1975, for the New York Mets against Houston, according to STATS, LLC.
Martinez grounded into double plays in his first three at-bats, then came up with a man on first in the eighth and hit a line drive that was caught by Chris Parmelee, the first baseman. After diving toward first to make the catch, Parmelee simply reached out and touched the base with his glove to double off the runner.
Valverde allowed a walk to Joe Mauer and a single to Luke Hughes to start the ninth. Parmelee flied out to shallow left, and pinch-hitter Jason Kubel drove in a run with a groundout to first, moving the tying run into scoring position.
When Rene Tosoni struck out swinging to end it, the always-demonstrative Valverde dropped briefly to a knee before getting up, pumping his fist.
Fister was acquired to give the Tigers more pitching depth, but he’s staked a legitimate claim to being Detroit’s second-best starter behind Justin Verlander. In his last five starts, he’s allowed three earned runs in 36 2-3 innings, striking out 36 and walking four.
Minnesota had runners on first and second with one out in the fifth, but shortstop Jhonny Peralta made a nice stop on Matt Tolbert’s grounder for a force play at second. Fister struck out Drew Butera to end the threat.
The 6-foot-8 Fister also made a couple graceful defensive plays. The right-hander knocked down one comebacker with his glove hand, then scooped up the ball without breaking stride and threw to first for an out. He later jumped to catch a soft line drive up the middle.
NOTES: The game was played in 2 hours, 19 minutes. … Minnesota INF Danny Valencia was scratched from the lineup with right shoulder soreness. … Ordonez extended his hitting streak to 11 games with a first-inning single. … The Tigers travel to Chicago for a three-game series with the White Sox. They’ll send Rick Porcello (13-8) to the mound Monday night against John Danks (6-11). … Minnesota’s next game is Tuesday night at Kansas City. Carl Pavano (8-11) will start for the Twins against Bruce Chen (10-7).
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