CHICAGO -- Doug Fister has been a different pitcher since the All-Star break.
And if he keeps throwing as he did against the Chicago White Sox on Tuesday night, the Detroit Tigers' rotation will be even more formidable in the closing days of a playoff race.
Fister allowed a pair of solo homers early and no other hits through seven innings as the Tigers beat the White Sox 5-3 to close Chicago's lead in the AL Central to two games.
"I wasn't trying to do too much, that was the biggest thing for me. I was just trying to stay inside myself and let the defence work," said Fister, who retired the final 14 batters he faced. "That was the name of my game tonight."
The only two hits Fister (9-8) gave up were solo homers to Dewayne Wise in the first and Gordon Beckham in the third that gave the White Sox a 2-0 lead. He walked two and struck out six and is 7-2 in 11 starts after the All-Star game.
"We've been pitching very good for a while. Tonight we did muster a few runs, it's not like we tore the cover off the ball, but we got enough. Our pitchers were pretty darn good," Detroit manager Jim Leyland said after his team ended a four-game losing streak."
Chicago starter Jake Peavy couldn't hold the early two-run lead. Austin Jackson hit a two-run homer in the fifth after a single by Omar Infante. And one batter later, Miguel Cabrera connected for his 36th of the season, a solo shot that put the Tigers on top.
"I think it relaxed everybody when we got on the board a little bit. We got that three-spot, I thought it relaxed everybody a little bit," Leyland said.
"The way Dougie was pitching, he had some quick innings, obviously. That's always good for your team. We needed to get back in the win column, tonight, and we did."
Peavy (10-11) threw 117 pitches in 5 2-3 innings, allowing six hits, walking two and striking out nine. He is 1-3 in six starts against the Tigers this season.
"You go back and relieve those and you'd like to make better pitches," Peavy said of the homers.
"There's no secrets. I've faced that same lineup. ...Those guys know what I'm going to do. I had good stuff tonight. When you do have good stuff you have a lot of foul balls, a lot of swing and misses and the pitch count got up extremely high with that."
The Tigers added two runs in the eighth on RBI singles by Alex Avila and Andy Dirks and had the bases loaded before Cabrera hit into a double play.
Chicago got consecutive singles from Alexei Ramirez, Beckham and Alejandro De Aza off Joaquin Benoit to open the bottom of the eighth and cut the lead to 5-3. But Benoit regrouped to strike out Kevin Youkilis after he failed to get down a bunt and fanned Wise before retiring Paul Konerko on a grounder to end the threat.
Alex Rios reached on an infield single to start Chicago's ninth off Jose Valverde, who then retired the next three batters for his 29th save in 33 chances.
Wise, batting third with Adam Dunn missing a fifth straight game with a right oblique strain, hit a long two-out homer to right in the first, his eighth of the season. Beckham hit his career-high 15th homer and second in two nights, leading off the third.
But that was it against Fister.
"He was good tonight," Wise said. "After that first inning, I faced him and he had a pretty good breaking ball going. He just kept throwing that thing and we just kept chasing it."
NOTES: The Tigers had managed only six runs total during their four-game losing streak. ... Peavy has given up 22 homers this season. ... Wise has hit five of his homers with the White Sox. He also played with the Yankees this season. Chicago called him up on Aug. 11. ... Gavin Floyd (9-9) will come off the DL (elbow) and start Wednesday's game for the White Sox against Detroit's 15-game winner Max Scherzer. The finale has Justin Verlander facing Chris Sale on Thursday. ... Beckham had 14 homers in 2009 as a rookie. ... Chicago manager Robin Ventura said there's a chance Dunn and his team-high 38 homers could return to the lineup Wednesday.