Without their best hitter, without their hottest hitter, and with banged-up regulars like Brennan Boesch also missing in action, the Tigers nonetheless found a way to win Thursday at Tropicana Field.

With a little baserunning help from the Tampa Bay Rays.

They did it with that old staple, pitching, as Doug Fister put together a seven-inning performance that showed why the Tigers were so eager to grab him from Seattle in last month's deadline trade.

Fister pitched seven innings of shutout baseball, while Austin Jackson's leadoff home run and fifth-inning sacrifice fly supplied all the offense necessary in a 2-0 victory over the Rays.

"We got through a series we were very concerned about, I'm not going to lie to you," Tigers manager Jim Leyland said after Doug Fister and Austin Jackson led the Tigers to a 2-0 victory on a day Leyland was missing one-third of his best lineup.

The Rays rallied against Jose Valverde in the ninth on a walk to Casey Kotchman, and a single from ex-Tigers outfielder Matt Joyce that left runners at the corners with one out.

The Tigers then got their biggest break in a wild four-game series. Joyce was on the run when Fuld drove a fly ball to Ryan Raburn in right. Joyce seemed oblivious to it all and was easily doubled up by Raburn.

Joaquin Benoit and Valverde finished the final two innings for the Tigers, with Valverde getting his 38th save in 38 attempts.