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Fister, Tigers tame Rangers 5-2

Detroit Tigers closer Jose Valverde celebrates after getting the final out. (AP-Yonhap News)
Detroit Tigers closer Jose Valverde celebrates after getting the final out. (AP-Yonhap News)
DETROIT (AP) ― Colby Lewis came into Game 3 of the AL championship series as the surest thing the Texas Rangers had on the mound.

And for three innings, he was.

Then, the Detroit Tigers began chipping away. And by the time they were done, they had handed Lewis his first postseason defeat and beaten Texas 5-2 Tuesday night, narrowing the Rangers’ edge to 2-1.

The Tigers took the lead on a pitch Lewis likely regrets throwing in the fifth inning.

Lewis gave Miguel Cabrera a 91 mph fastball to swing at on an 0-2 count and the AL batting champion pounced on it, hitting a go-ahead double. Cabrera got to hit, rather than having Texas pitch around him with the hobbled Victor Martinez on deck.

Martinez seemed to hurt himself when he hit a solo homer off Lewis in the fourth. The designated hitter stayed in the game and drew a walk in the fifth.

The Tigers padded their lead and ended Lewis’ night in the sixth. Jhonny Peralta homered on Lewis’ first pitch of the ninth and No. 9 hitter Andy Dirks chased Lewis with a two-out single.

Koji Uehara replaced Lewis and gave up an RBI single to the previously struggling Austin Jackson, giving the Tigers a 4-1 lead.

Lewis was charged with four runs on eight hits and two walks while striking out six.

The Texas right-hander hadn’t given up more than two runs in any of his previous five postseason starts. He had a chance to join Hall of Famer Sandy Koufax as the only pitcher to allow no more than two runs in his first six postseason starts that lasted at least five innings.

Lewis entered the game 4-0 with a 1.67 ERA in the postseason. Josh Beckett, Andy Pettitte and Lewis are the only AL pitchers to win four straight postseason starts since 2000.

Now, the Rangers will have to hope left-hander Matt Harrison helps them stay ahead in the best-of-seven series when he pitches against Detroit’s Rick Porcello in Game 4 Wednesday.

Early on, it looked as if Lewis might join elite company in baseball lore and help the Rangers win their sixth straight game this postseason.

He retired the Tigers in order in the first by getting Jackson out on a foul ball and striking out Ramon Santiago and Cabrera.
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