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CLE@DET: Fister four-hits Tribe for complete-game win

A classic pitchers' duel could be on tap Thursday, when the Yankees and Tigers play at Comerica Park in another matchup of postseason contenders.

Right-hander Hiroki Kuroda will take the hill for New York against Tigers righty Doug Fister, and both are coming off excellent starts that should give them momentum.

For Kuroda, his 6 1/3-inning, one-run, four-strikeout effort on Saturday at home against the Mariners was encouraging, but still a 1-0 loss. He had the misfortune of going up against Seattle ace Felix Hernandez, who threw one of the best games of his career in a two-hit shutout.

Still, the Yankees had to love what they got from their veteran righty, who has been reliable and consistent throughout his first summer in New York.

"He was phenomenal, as well," catcher Russell Martin said of Kuroda, comparing him to Hernandez. "He gave up one run. Normally, with this lineup, we're able to score a few runs to get a win for our starter, but he pitched well. He did everything he could to keep us in the game, we just couldn't get any offense going."

Kuroda pitched well under the pressure, escaping a few jams via popups and weak grounders. He said he expects the power-packed Yankees lineup to come through every time, although he didn't quite get that Saturday.

"If you pitch as long as [Hernandez] was pitching, you'd assume he'd throw mistake pitches, and he didn't today," Kuroda said. "It's a little bit frustrating, but it is what it is."

Fister's opponents were saying similar things after the Detroit righty's last start, a 6-1 victory over the Indians in which Fister was perfect for nearly six innings and settled for a complete-game, four-hit, one-run masterwork in which he struck out six and didn't walk a batter.

It was another huge step for Fister, who has finally been the pitcher the Tigers saw at the end of last year, when he went 8-1 with a 1.79 ERA down the stretch after being acquired at the Trade Deadline from the Mariners. Now Fister is finally healthy and dealing again, and his teammates are excited about it.

"You can't get better than the way he has pitched his last few outings," catcher Alex Avila said after Fister's four-hitter. "There's no, 'Well, he's getting better each start.' That's as good as it gets right there.

"A lot of people were wondering what was wrong with him. Well, he hadn't pitched."

Yankees: Chavvy coming up big
Infielder Eric Chavez is batting .462 (12-for-26) with seven runs, two doubles, three home runs and eight RBIs over his last eight games. He owns a .314 (38-for-121) average with nine homers when playing in the field this season (either first base or third), compared to a .277 (13-for-47) mark with one homer as the designated hitter. Chavez has hit eight homers over his last 34 games after hitting just three total over his first 42 games of 2012.

• The Yankees had gone a season-high 13 straight games without an error since July 24 until making two in Wednesday night's 12-8 win over Detroit. The Yankees have not recorded a stretch longer than 13 games since their Major League-record 18 consecutive errorless games from May 14-June 1, 2009.

• Thirteen of the Yankees' last 19 games have been decided by three runs or fewer, with eight of the games being decided by one run (0-8 in those games). The eight straight losses in games decided by one run is the team's longest such skid since 1944, when it lost nine games in a row decided by one run, according to Elias Sports Bureau.

Tigers: Miggy magic
First baseman Miguel Cabrera is batting .345 (111-for-322) with 25 doubles, 22 home runs and an American League-leading 73 RBIs over his last 81 games dating back to May 10. Cabrera has hit safely in 35 of his 39 games during his career against the Yankees and is hitting .359 (51-for-142) with 10 doubles, a triple, 15 home runs and 37 RBIs during his career vs. the Yanks.

• Outfielder Austin Jackson leads the AL with five games of four or more hits, which marks the most by a Tigers player in a single season since Placido Polanco posted six in 2008.

• Avila is batting .287 (43-for-150) with 11 doubles, two home runs and 21 RBIs over his last 48 games.

Worth noting
• Yankees second baseman Robinson Cano made an error on Wednesday to snap a streak of 37 errorless games since June 25, his longest errorless stretch since the final 43 games of the 2010 season.

• Tigers first baseman Prince Fielder is batting .333 (93-for-279) with 20 doubles, a triple, 14 home runs and 64 RBIs over his last 77 games. Comments