BOSTON — Tigers manager Jim Leyland had a theory about why Doug Fister looked completely different after a shaky start.
Fister walked three and plunked a hitter in the first seven batters he faced, but he settled down to pitch seven shutout innings as Detroit beat the Red Sox 3-0 Monday in a matchup of teams with the AL's best records.
"This is what I think, and I'm probably crazy," the veteran manager said. "People have talked about this park for 100 years and I think at the beginning of the game he was being a little bit careful, and I thought he got more aggressive as the game went on — and I thought it helped him.
"Early on, I think he was being careful like 1,000 pitchers have done before him. It's hard to convince him that you have to be aggressive in this ballpark because if you don't you'll get burnt. I don't have an idea if that's accurate, but that's what it seemed like to me."
Fister rebounded from a miserable start in his previous outing, when he gave up 13 hits and seven runs in a loss to the Athletics.
"Keeping the ball down, throwing pitches that I needed to induce the double plays," the right-hander said was the difference.
The Tigers won despite missing Miguel Cabrera for the third straight game. He has been sidelined by a strained abdomen.