St. Petersburg, FL – Prince Fielder had two hits, an RBI and a run scored to lead the Detroit Tigers past the Tampa Bay Rays, 5-3, in the finale of a four-game series at Tropicana Field.
Drew Smyly (3-3) allowed three runs on three hits and a walk over five innings for Detroit, which won three games in the series.
Jose Valverde worked a perfect ninth to record his 15th save of the season.
"Wins are golden. They are hard to get," said Tigers manager Jim Leyland. "We have found that out all year long so far."
Alex Cobb (3-5) surrendered five runs -- four earned -- on eight hits and two walks through 5 1/3 innings to take the loss for the Rays, who have dropped six of their last seven.
"It was a good hitting team," said Cobb. "They got to me and made me pay for a couple of mistakes."
Earlier on Sunday, Fielder learned he would be the starting first baseman for the American League in the upcoming All-Star Game, while his teammate Miguel Cabrera will join him in the starting lineup at third base.
Tampa Bay opened the scoring in the bottom of the first inning without a hit when Desmond Jennings worked a leadoff walk, stole second, advanced to third on a wild pitch and came home on B.J. Upton's sacrifice fly to center field.
Detroit left a runner in scoring position in both the second and third innings before breaking through in the fourth after loading the bases with no outs.
But the Tigers would only get one run out of it on Ryan Raburn's base hit to center field that scored Fielder. Don Kelly followed with a grounder to first that Jeff Keppinger threw home for the force before Ramon Santiago struck out and Austin Jackson grounded out to short to end the inning and keep it a 1-1 game.
Detroit was able to push across a couple of more runs in the fifth after again filling the bags with no outs.
Delmon Young and Alex Avila followed with back-to-back sacrifice flies to right field to put the Tigers on top, 3-1.
However, the Rays quickly tied the game in the home fifth, starting with Ben Zobrist's leadoff double, which was Tampa Bay's first hit of the game. Zobrist later scored on Hideki Matsui's base hit to right before Jose Molina laced a double just past a diving Kelly in right-center field to plate Matsui.
The Tigers, though, regained the lead in the sixth when Kelly opened the inning by slapping a double into the left-field corner and came home two batters later on Jackson's one-out single, knocking Cobb out of the game.
Jake McGee entered next and fanned Berry before walking Cabrera and giving up an RBI single to Fielder to hand Detroit a 5-3 lead.
Tampa Bay only threatened to score one more time in the game, when a pair of singles by Zobrist and Matsui in the seventh inning placed runners on first and second with one out.
But Zobrist was thrown out at third while trying to advance on a ball in the dirt and Molina flied out to center field to end the inning.
Rays pitchers David Price and Fernando Rodney, and Tigers pitcher Justin Verlander were also named to the All-Star Game on Sunday...Jackson extended his hit streak to eight games...Detroit has won 12 of its last 15 games against Tampa Bay.