Fister taking no Yanks batter for granted

Doug Fister #58 of the Detroit Tigers speaks

Doug Fister #58 of the Detroit Tigers speaks during a press conference prior to Game 5 of the American League Division Series against the New York Yankees at Yankee Stadium. (Oct. 5, 2011) (Credit: Jim McIsaac)

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It can change quickly with the Yankees' lineup, which Doug Fister discovered in Game 1 of the ALDS.

"Top to bottom, they've got a great lineup," Fister said Wednesday at the Stadium. "You've got to be on top of your game from one through nine and be ready to go."

Fister, who took the loss in Game 1, starts Game 5 Thursday night, opposed by Ivan Nova.

The Tigers, as well as Fister, believed the 6-8 righthander threw better than his final line indicated in the 9-3 Game 1 loss. Fister, 27, allowed six runs and seven hits in 42/3 innings.

But things started promisingly enough for Fister, who held the Yankees scoreless his first three innings before Robinson Cano's run-scoring double in the fifth. He left with the bases loaded and Cano coming up in the sixth. Cano greeted Fister's replacement, Al Alburquerque, with a grand slam. "Obviously I didn't execute a few things," Fister said. "A good lineup makes you pay for it. That's what they did the other night."

Among them was Brett Gardner, who kept the two-out rally against Fister going in the sixth with a two-run single. Gardner, the No. 9 hitter, has had a good series overall: 5-for-13 with five RBIs.

"You can't take any of them for granted," said Fister, who went 8-1 with a 1.79 ERA for the Tigers after being acquired before the trade deadline from the Mariners. "You have to pitch all of them like they're the No. 4 hitter."

Tigers manager Jim Leyland said Gardner came up in a conversation with his pitching coach, Jeff Jones, Wednesday morning.

"He's been real pesky," Leyland said of Gardner, who has a .429 on-base percentage in the series. "I think sometimes you get through that big part of the order and all those big guys, and maybe you lose your concentration a little bit. He's a bear-down guy. He's a real hard-nosed player and everything. A real determined guy. We're going to have to do a better job."

Leyland, while disappointed his team couldn't wrap up the series Tuesday night at Comerica Park, nonetheless expressed, three separate times, his excitement for the charged environment he expects Thursday night.

"We've got a big game with the New York Yankees at Yankee Stadium. It's a great scenario," Leyland said. "It's great for everybody. It's great for the TV. It's great for the nation to see it. Perfect. This is what baseball's all about."

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