BOSTON -- Doug Fister rebounded from a terrible start to help the Detroit Tigers to a 3-0 victory over the Boston Red Sox on Monday.
Fister, reached for 13 hits and seven runs in a home loss to the Oakland A's last week, threw seven shutout innings (four hits) and Andy Dirks snapped a scoreless tie with an RBI triple and then scored in the seventh inning for all the offense the Tigers needed.
The Tigers, playing their third straight game without star Miguel Cabrera (core injury), won for the third time in their last four games. They also won the opener of a series that could be a postseason matchup. Detroit leads the American League Central and Boston is on top in the East. The win moved the Tigers to within a half-game of Boston for the best record in the league.
Fister (12-7) had control troubles at the start of the first and second innings but escaped both tough spots and cruised. He was supported by three double plays, two off the bat of Dustin Pedroia. He walked four, hit a batter and struck out four.
Three relievers finished up. Jose Veras pitched around a leadoff double in the ninth for his second save with Detroit (21 overall). Closer Joaquin Benoit was resting after working three of the previous four days.
John Lackey, who has been the hard-luck member of the Red Sox starting staff all year, was again the victim of non-support. Boston has been shut out 11 times this season and Lackey has been the starter in six of those. His teammates have failed to score while he's been in the game in six of his last 11 starts.
Lackey, who left with second and third and one out in the eighth, fell to 1-6 with two no-decisions in his last nine starts. He fell to 8-12.
The Red Sox, who got three of their six hits (two doubles) from Daniel Nava, lost for only the second time in their last nine games.
Prince Fielder hit a sacrifice fly off reliever Matt Thornton to give the Tigers, backed by a contingent of fans in the stands, an insurance run just after Lackey left.
NOTES: With Cabrera out, Fielder batted third for the first time since Aug. 3, 2010. ... The Tigers hope Cabrera can return by Wednesday's series finale. ... CF Jacoby Ellsbury (thumb) and RF Shane Victorino (hip/hamstring), who both left Sunday's game late with their injuries, were both in the Red Sox lineup. ... Detroit RHP Max Scherzer takes his second stab at becoming the second pitcher ever to start a season 20-1 (Roger Clemens, 2001) when he faces LHP Jon Lester in Game 2 of the series Tuesday night. ... SS Jose Iglesias, traded from the Red Sox to the Tigers in the three-way deadline deal that brought RHP Jake Peavy to Boston, made his return to Fenway Park Monday, got a warm reception from the crowd and ripped a double on the first pitch he saw from Lackey. He was robbed of a single by a diving Ellsbury in the fifth and flied out in the eighth. Iglesias also flashed his outstanding defense on three double plays, including an acrobatic 6-3 double play in the sixth. ... Boston RHP Clay Buchholz will have his third, and what is expected to be, final rehab start pushed from Wednesday to Thursday because of the birth of his second child, expected Wednesday.