DETROIT – Hector Santiago avoided the big inning and gave the White Sox a chance to snap their dreadful losing streak.
It wasn’t enough – not against a Detroit team that is moving in a much different direction.
Doug Fister pitched eight impressive innings, Austin Jackson homered and Jose Iglesias drove in a run in his Detroit debut to lead the Tigers to a 2-1 win over the Sox on Friday night.
The Sox have lost eight straight.
AL Central-leading Detroit has won 10 of 11.
“Hector was sharp, but Fister was just as good,” Sox manager Robin Ventura said. “When he’s throwing strikes like that and pitching with that tempo, there’s not much you can do against him.”
Fister (10-5) allowed a run and seven hits, striking out two. Joaquin Benoit pitched a hitless ninth for his 11th save in 11 chances.
Iglesias, acquired from Boston this week in a three-team deal, started at third base in place of Miguel Cabrera, who experienced soreness after running and was scratched pregame.
Santiago (3-7) allowed two runs and six hits in seven innings. He struck out seven and walked one.
“That was one of Hector’s best games all year,” Ventura said. “He usually has an inning or two in the middle where he gets out of synch, walks a few guys and gives up some runs. That didn’t happen today, and that’s an important step forward for him.”
Fister threw 88 pitches before being replaced by Benoit for the ninth. He won his fourth straight start — and he’s allowed four earned runs in 28 innings over that span.
“Things were feeling pretty good tonight,” Fister said. “I’m trying to be as consistent as possible from Day One, and things are falling our way right now.”
The 23-year-old Iglesias was initially going to play second base Friday, but when Cabrera was pulled before the game, he moved over to third.
Iglesias could soon take over at shortstop for Jhonny Peralta, who faces a possible suspension amid the fallout from baseball’s investigation into the Biogenesis of America anti-aging clinic. Peralta was in the lineup at shortstop Friday.
The White Sox (40-67) are at least 27 games under .500 for the first time since finishing the 1976 season 64-97. Chicago put the tying run on first to lead off the seventh and eighth innings, but each time, Fister was able to induce a double play grounder.
In the ninth, Alex Rios drew a two-out walk and stole second, but Adam Dunn grounded out to end it.
“It’s tough for everyone right now, but we’re part of it,” Santiago said. “If I don’t give up a run today, we win 1-0. When things are going like they are right now, that’s what you need to break out of it.”
Prince Fielder led off the Detroit fourth with a double, and he went tumbling into third while advancing on Victor Martinez’s flyout.
One out later, Iglesias dropped a flare into shallow right field for a single to give the Tigers a 1-0 lead.
“I had the same problems I usually have, but I kept it down to a couple batters,” Santiago said. “I got behind Prince and let him hit a good pitch, and then I couldn’t keep him from scoring.”
Jackson hit his seventh homer of the year in the fifth, a high drive that carried over the fence in left-center field.
Chicago ended Fister’s shutout bid in the sixth with an RBI single by Rios, but Fielder cut off Jackson’s throw from center and ran Rios down between first and second for the third out.
NOTES: The time of the game was 2 hours, 7 minutes. ... Both teams left men on first and third in the first. ... Detroit’s Max Scherzer (15-1) takes the mound against Chicago’s John Danks (2-8) on Saturday night.