DETROIT -- A rain-plagued opener and an 11-inning second act put an onus on each starting pitcher for Game 3 of the American League Championship Series.
Doug Fister and Colby Lewis needed to pitch into the later innings, and pitch well with the Detroit and Texas bullpens low on juice after logging more than 20 innings combined in the first two games.
Fister gave the Tigers exactly what the Rangers needed from Lewis, and now Detroit is back in the hunt in this the best-of-seven series.
Detroit hit three solo homers, two against Lewis, and Fister pitched into the eighth inning as the Tigers beat the Rangers 5-2 on Tuesday and snapped Texas' five-game postseason winning streak.
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The Rangers lead the best-of-seven series 2-1 as the home team has held up its end through three games. Game 4 is scheduled for 3:19 p.m. today.
"We expect them to play well every game," first baseman Michael Young said. "They're here for a reason, just like we are. They had a good night. They pitched well, scored runs when they needed to and got a win."
Lewis suffered his first career postseason loss as the Rangers' regular-season Comerica Park blues extended into the postseason. Detroit has beaten the Rangers in 17 of the past 21 games in the Motor City.
Of immediate concern is the left knee of third baseman Adrian Beltre, which was struck by a foul ball during a fourth-inning at-bat. He remained in the game but limped noticeably the rest of the way.
X-rays after the game were negative, and the official diagnosis was a bruise. Beltre hopes to be in the lineup today.
"Yeah, it was sore, but good enough to be in there," Beltre said. "It hurt pretty good. After a couple of innings, it got a little better."
Beltre was part of a five-man stretch in the middle of the lineup that went 1 for 15 against Fister. Young, the cleanup hitter, went 0 for 3 against the right-hander, 0 for 4 overall, and is hitting .111 (3 for 27) in the postseason.
"We might have been a little overaggressive, but he threw well," Young said. "His sinker was moving a lot. Nothing was coming in straight. In that situation we need to find a way to be more patient and settle back into our game plan."
The Rangers, though, were out front early as their first three hitters singled to start the game. The last hit was a jam shot by Josh Hamilton that floated just over shortstop Jhonny Peralta to score Ian Kinsler.
But the rally fizzled as Young hit into a double play and Beltre struck out with Elvis Andrus at third base.
"After the first inning, he did a good job," Young said of Fister, the former Seattle pitcher who entered with a 2-3 lifetime record against the Rangers.
Lewis looked good early. He tossed a 1-2-3 first, pitched around a walk and a hit in the second, and erased a one-out single in the third. He recorded five of his six strikeouts in the first three innings.
Detroit, though, pulled into a 1-1 tie when Victor Martinez started the Tigers' fourth with a homer to right field. He appeared to have an oblique injury as he rounded the bases but is expected to play today.
The Tigers went ahead for good when Miguel Cabrera doubled with two outs in the fifth to score Austin Jackson, the Denton native who was 3 for 5.
Peralta started the sixth with a solo homer as the Rangers tried to squeeze one more inning out of Lewis. He lasted 52/3 innings and was tagged with a fourth earned run when Jackson singled off of Koji Uehara to score Andy Dirks for a 4-1 lead.
"He throws strikes, and every now and then he's going to give up some long balls," Washington said of Lewis, who is now 4-1 in six career postseason starts. "But he kept us in the ballgame. It was Fister that did the job out there tonight."
Jeff Wilson, 817-390-7760