"It comes down to executing, and I did a poor job of that tonight," Fister said. "I just wasn't together today. I need to do a better job."
Pirates left fielder Alex Presley led off with a double, which was followed by a run-scoring single from Neil Walker. Fister induced a double play two batters later, but Walker scored from third.
After limiting the damage to those two first-inning runs, Fister did himself no favors in the second. Pirates starter A.J. Burnett went to the plate with one out and men on first and second, looking to bunt them over. Fister fielded the bunt and threw it to third. Actually, near
third is probably more accurate.
Fister's throw sailed past the outstretched glove of Miguel Cabrera, allowing Pedro Alvarez to score from second. Pirates catcher Rod Barajas, running from first base, soon followed when Delmon Young misplayed the ball in foul territory.
Two errors by the Tigers. Two runs for the Pirates.
"The throwing error, that's unacceptable," Fister said. "That's going to be addressed."
Added manager Jim Leyland: "They jumped on us right away, and then we gave them a couple of cookies to add on to it. That pretty much spells the game."
All this came on a night when Fister (1-4, 2.72 ERA) needed to be at his best in order to put Detroit in a position to win. His counterpart, Burnett, pitched well enough to win his seventh straight start, something no Pirate had done since Dock Ellis in 1974.
Burnett (8-2, 3.24 ERA) didn't surrender a hit until the fourth inning, when Young laced a single into center field with two outs. Burnett gave up only one more, a leadoff single to Austin Jackson in the sixth.
Burnett lasted six innings and picked up the victory. He struck out four and walked three.
"He was able to slow things down and rely on his experience and his catcher," Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said. "He found a way to make pitches when he had to."
Jackson's single in the sixth could have spelled big things for the Tigers. The next batter, Quintin Berry, walked, setting up Cabrera with two on and none out, but Cabrera hit a ground ball to shortstop for a rally-killing double play.
"I felt like I was beating [Cabrera] here and there with the fastball, so I stuck with it," Burnett said. "I was throwing two- and four-seamers and had him leaning over the plate, so I was able to get one in on him [for the double-play ball]. Bottom line, I was able to make a pitch when I needed to."
Even so, that put Prince Fielder at the dish with a runner on third. But Fielder, the former Brewer who was booed incessantly by the PNC Park crowd during every plate appearance, hit an inning-ending popup to shallow left field.
Detroit's two biggest boppers finished the game a combined 0-for-8. Overall, the Tigers stranded six runners.
"You get spoiled. You expect those big guys to do it every night," Leyland said. "That's not going to happen. That's not fair."
The Tigers scored their lone run in the seventh inning, when Ramon Santiago doubled in Jhonny Peralta, who had hit a double of his own in the previous at-bat. But it wasn't enough for Detroit, which is 4-3 over the last seven games. Pittsburgh, on the other hand, is 5-2 during that same stretch.
"We just didn't muster much offense tonight," Leyland said. "And that's been the case in several games this year."