Tigers-Rays Preview

A defensive misfortune ended the Detroit Tigers’ winning streak.

Another strong outing from Doug Fister might help them begin a new

one.

The AL Central-leading Tigers look to bounce back from a

frustrating defeat when they conclude their four-game road set with

the Tampa Bay Rays on Thursday.

Detroit’s five-game run was snapped with a 3-2, 10-inning loss

Wednesday. The game ended when Elliot Johnson hit a bases-loaded

ground ball with two outs to third baseman Brandon Inge, who threw

to second where Ramon Santiago was late getting to the bag.

“I thought he was out,” Inge said. “A lot of other guys did,

too. It’s not fun when it goes down like that and the game should

still be going on.”

Regardless of how the Tigers (70-59) felt about the play, they

still have a six-game lead over Cleveland in the Central. All-Star

catcher Alex Avila, who homered for the second time in the series,

has hit .418 with six home runs and 16 RBIs in his last 20

games.

Detroit will now try to win this series and continue to provide

some offense for Fister (5-13, 3.49 ERA).

After he allowed a season-high eight runs – six earned – in an

8-5 loss at Baltimore on Aug. 14, Fister give up a homer and struck

out seven in seven innings of a 10-1 win over the Indians on

Saturday.

Fister has received an average of 7.06 runs of support while

going 2-1 with a 4.57 ERA in four starts since being acquired from

Seattle, where he got 1.97 runs of support while going 3-12 with a

3.33 ERA in 21 outings.

“I feel like I’m still thinking it’s 0-0, no matter what the

score is,” Fister told the Tigers’ official website.

While with the Mariners on June 4, Fister yielded three runs in

seven innings of a 3-2 loss to fall to 1-2 with a 4.00 ERA against

the Rays (70-58).

With slugger Miguel Cabrera missing this game while on paternity

leave, the Tigers could be in for a challenge against Jeremy

Hellickson (11-8, 3.04).

The right-hander is 1-1 with a 1.35 ERA in two career starts

against Detroit, allowing seven hits and striking out 11 in 13 1-3

innings. He surrendered two runs over 6 1-3 innings of a 6-3 loss

at Comerica Park on May 23.

After he allowed four runs in 4 1-3 innings of a 9-2 loss at New

York on Aug. 13, Hellickson went eight innings in an 8-0 win over

Seattle on Saturday. He is 4-1 with a 2.74 ERA in seven outings

since posting a 4.74 ERA during a four-start skid.

“I (feel) really good,” Hellickson told the Rays’ official

website. “I just wanted to come out and attack the zone better than

I did (against the Yankees).”

Evan Longoria homered and Johnny Damon added two hits to give

him 2,700 for his career as the Rays avoided a third straight

defeat by winning for the 14th time in 20 games Wednesday.

Longoria is 9 for 28 (.321) with four homers and eight RBIs in

his last seven games. Damon has hit .368 (14 for 38) with six RBIs

in his last nine.