for this game

Avila powers Tigers past Rangers

Aug 4, 2011 - 5:21 AM Detroit, MI (Sports Network) - Alex Avila belted the tie-breaking solo homer in the sixth inning and Doug Fister's first start in a Detroit uniform was a successful one, as the Tigers edged the Texas Rangers, 5-4, at Comerica Park.

Fister (4-12), who was acquired from the Mariners as part of a six-player deal this past weekend, recorded his first victory since May 30. The right-hander, who had lost his previous seven decisions over a 10-start span, allowed eight hits and three runs -- two earned -- over seven innings.

"I really liked his presence on the mound, his demeanor," Tigers manager Jim Leyland said. "He did a real fine job for us tonight. I'm really happy for him."

Avila, who had two RBI, has homered in both contests so far in this three- game series. Ryan Raburn added a homer off Koji Uehara in the eighth inning.

Jose Valverde surrendered a homer to Mike Napoli in the ninth, but settled down to convert his 30th consecutive save to begin the season for the AL Central-leading Tigers, who have won three in a row and widened their lead in the division to four games over the Indians.

Matt Harrison (9-8), who had won his previous three decisions, gave up nine hits and four runs over six innings.

Josh Hamilton and Nelson Cruz each had two hits and an RBI for the Rangers, who remained a game ahead of the Angels for first place in the AL West.

Napoli homered for a second straight night, going deep to left with one out. David Murphy then grounded out to second base and Yorvit Torrealba struck out swinging.

Raburn and Avila singled in runs in the second inning, and Miguel Cabrera's RBI double to left plated Austin Jackson in the next frame for a 3-0 margin.

Cruz doubled in Hamilton in the fourth. With men on the corners, Napoli hit a bouncer off the glove of third baseman Wilson Betemit, allowing Cruz to score.

Harrison escaped a bases-loaded jam in the bottom half, and the Rangers tied the game in the fifth when shortstop Jhonny Peralta failed to turn an inning- ending double play with the throw skipping past the first baseman.

With two outs in the sixth, Avila turned on a 2-1 offering and homered to right field.

"I was just trying to do everything I could to keep the game close," Harrison said. "It's real frustrating to get to that point in the game and give up the home run, giving them the lead."

Raburn smacked his 10th homer of the year to left with two down in the eighth.

Game Notes

The slump continued for Rangers second baseman Ian Kinsler, as he went hitless in four at-bats. He's 1-for-30 over his last seven games...The Tigers have won 16 of their last 19 at home against the Rangers...Valverde's 30 straight saves converted is the second-longest such streak during a single season in Tigers history. Guillermo Hernandez converted 32 straight save opportunities for the Tigers April 6 to September 23, 1984...Detroit has won six of eight meetings with Texas this season.






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