Cabrera slams resilient Tigers for fourth straight win
Kansas City, Mo. – Maybe it was a scenario from another era, like maybe 2014 or 2013.
Miguel Cabrera came at home plate with the bases loaded and two strikeouts in the seventh inning on Friday. The Tigers lost their lead in the bottom of the seventh on a two-run homerun from Michael A. Taylor and were trailing 5-3.
It was shaping up to be a frustrating ‘threatened but failed to score’ round, especially after JaCoby Jones was tossed home trying to score on rebounding ground just yards from wide receiver Salvador Perez.
After reliever Tyler Zuber pulled Jeimer Candelario out for the second out, Royals manager Mike Matheny called in 35-year-old Greg Holland to take on 38-year-old Cabrera.
Cabrera worked the full count, then stayed on a slider and drove it 405 feet in the left seats. It was his second home run of the game and his sixth career Grand Slam, and it propelled the Tigers to a 7-5 win over the Kansas City Royals in the first of three games at Kauffman Stadium.
Both circuits put Cabrera nine less than 500 for his career.
It wasn’t the cleanest or prettiest victory, but it was their fourth in a row on this road trip. And what they lacked aesthetically, they made up for it with guts.
The Royals slapped four singles against starter Jose Urena and scored two runs in the third inning. He was one shot away from coming off when Whit Merrifield dipped a single down the straight, moving Kelvin Gutierrez to third with two strikeouts.
A ball passed by wide receiver Jake Rogers, on a field that has been called a strike, proved to be costly. Not only did Merrifield get into a goal scoring position, but with no strength available, the Tigers reset their defense, placing it more to the right side against left-hander who hits Carlos Santana.
Santana, naturally, slapped a single through the opening on the left side of the infield, scoring the colon.
But the resilient Tigers regained the lead early in the fourth. Candelario started with a brace and went to third place with a single with an out by Eric Haase, who had two hits and extended his streak to five games.
Niko Goodrum followed with an RBI single and Haase, with an athletic slide, scored on a Wilson Ramos single. Haase was first called to home plate by home plate umpire Sean Barber. But reruns showed Haase’s hand slipped off the plate before Perez could apply the label.
Urena lost that lead in the sixth. Perez started off with a brace and scored on a Ryan O’Hearn single. With two strikeouts, Urena then engaged in a 10-pitch brawl with Taylor. After missing four straight leads with the full count, Taylor got a fifth and fielded him in the seats in left field for a two-run home run.
Cabrera, who hit a 417-foot homerun in the second inning against Royals left starter Mike Minor, outscored Taylor’s blast in the seventh.
The tiger enclosure has locked it. Bryan Garcia and Jose Cisnero put zeros in the seventh and eighth. And then Michael Fulmer, with his fastball soaring to 98 and 99 mph, threw a ninth clean for his fourth stop.
The tiger pen has now pitched 11 straight scoreless innings.