BOSTON -- Doug Fister rebounded from a miserable start with seven shutout innings as the Detroit Tigers beat the Boston Red Sox 3-0 Monday in a matchup of teams with the AL's best records.
The Tigers won despite missing Miguel Cabrera for the third straight game. He has been sidelined by a strained abdomen, though general manager Dave Dombrowski said the Triple Crown winner has been more hampered by a groin problem.
Prince Fielder and Andy Dirks each drove in a run for the AL Central-leading Tigers, who won for the fourth time in five games.
The AL East-leading Red Sox lost for just the second time in nine games.
Fister (12-7) held Boston to four hits, struck out four and walked four. He gave up 13 hits and seven runs in a loss to Oakland in his previous start on Wednesday.
John Lackey (8-12) was the tough-luck loser, giving up three runs on seven hits over 7 1-3 innings. It was the 11th time Boston's been shutout, six coming when he's pitched.
Jose Veras, the fourth Tigers pitcher, worked the ninth for his 21st save and second with the Tigers, finishing the six-hit shutout.
Detroit broke a scoreless tie with two runs in the seventh. Victor Martinez singled leading off and scored on Dirks' triple to the triangle just over the glove of centre fielder Jacoby Ellsbury. Dirks scored on a double-play grounder, making it 2-0.
Fielder's sacrifice fly made it 3-0 in eighth.
The Red Sox didn't get their first hit off Fister until Daniel Nava, who went 3 for 3 with two doubles, singled with two outs in the fourth.
Boston had the first two runners reach in the seventh, but Jarrod Saltalamacchia bunted into a forceout at third and the next two hitters bounced out.
Austin Jackson opened the game with a double, but Lackey got the next three hitters -- with help from second baseman Dustin Pedroia, who ranged far to his left to make a play on Martinez's inning-ending grounder.
NOTES: Cabrera took batting practice with the Tigers' starters and looked as if he was swinging freely. He was smiling when he walked off. He stopped to sign autographs and take a few pictures with fans on the field near the Tigers' dugout. ... Fielder hit third for the first time since Aug. 3, 2010. ... A male fan was hit in the head by a foul ball off the bat of Victorino in the sixth inning, but he walked up for medical help with a towel over his face. ... Red Sox manager John Farrell said RHP Clay Buchholz, on the DL since early June with a strained neck, will make his third rehab start Thursday instead of Wednesday because his wife is expected to have labour induced for the birth of their second child. ... Tigers manager Jim Leyland spoke highly of SS Jose Iglesias, acquired from Boston in a multiplayer deal on July 30. "He's very gifted, he's very competitive and very instinctive," he said. "This kid's a very interesting guy, very talented. We're very fortunate to have him. We were lucky to get somebody like that when we were in dire need of somebody." ... Leyland gave closer Joaquin Benoit the day off after he pitched in three of the previous four games.