BOSTON -

Doug Fister pitched seven strong innings and Andy Dirks delivered an RBI triple as visiting Detroit struck first in the battle between two division leaders.

Fister (12-7) walked three and hit a batter in the first two innings but induced a pair of double plays to escape those jams before cruising through the middle innings. The right-hander ended up scattering four hits and walking four as the Tigers won for the fourth time in five games and moved eight games ahead of the Cleveland Indians in the American League Central.

John Lackey (8-12) breezed through the first six innings but ended up allowing three runs on seven hits in 7 1/3 frames. Daniel Nava had three hits for the Red Sox, who had a three-game winning streak come to an end and slipped to five games ahead of the Tampa Bay Rays in the AL East.

Detroit started to rally in the seventh when Victor Martinez led off with a single to left. Dirks followed and drove a fly ball deep into the triangle in center field, just out of Jacoby Ellsbury’s reach for an RBI triple, before scoring on a double play groundout.

The Tigers added some insurance in the eighth on Prince Fielder’s sacrifice fly. Phil Coke and Bruce Rondon took care of the bottom of the eighth and Jose Veras worked around a leadoff double in a scoreless ninth to pick up his 21st save.
By SportsDirect Inc.