DETROIT (AP)Miguel Cabrera is finding ways to help the Detroit Tigers while he waits for career homer No. 500.
Cabrera’s leadoff walk sparked Detroit’s two-run eighth inning, sending the Tigers to a 6-4 victory over the Cleveland Indians on Saturday night.
Cabrera singled, flied out, was hit by a pitch and walked. The last two results drew loud boos from the crowd of 32,845, hoping to see the milestone homer.
”I know the fans want to see Miggy do it, but we’re not pitching any different to him than we would any other night,” Indians interim manager DeMarlo Hale said. ”We were trying to hit the edges and we missed a few pitches.”
With the game tied at 4, Cabrera nearly started the eighth with No. 500 – ripping a 3-2 pitch just foul down the right-field line.
”I was in the on-deck circle, and I thought that was it,” Jeimer Candelario said. ”The fans have been so excited this weekend I thought they might run on the field when it went out.”
Bryan Shaw (5-6) walked Cabrera on the next pitch.
”That’s a huge play in the game, because your chances of scoring go up so much when you get the leadoff hitter on base,” Tigers manager A.J. Hinch said. ”We had a runner ready for him, because we knew we had a chance to win the game.”
Jacob Robson ran for Cabrera, and Candelario and Renato Nunez singled to load the bases with no one out.
Eric Haase followed with a bloop single over the drawn-in infield, putting the Tigers ahead 6-4. A wild pitch put runners on second and third, but Shaw struck out Willi Castro.
Alex Young replaced Shaw and got the final two outs.
Michael Fulmer (5-4) got three outs for the win. Gregory Soto pitched the ninth for his 15th save.
The Tigers scored twice in the first against Sam Hentges. Cabrera singled with two out and Candelario followed with his ninth homer.
”My goal is to let Miggy jog around the bases as much as I can,” Candelario said. ”We need to keep his legs as fresh as possible.”
Zack Short’s RBI single off Trevor Stephan lifted the Tigers to a 4-1 lead in the fourth, but the Indians rallied against Wily Peralta in the fifth.
Jose Ramirez hit an RBI triple with one out and scored on Franmil Reyes’ single. Kyle Funkhouser came out of the bullpen and got out of the inning with the tying run on base.
”Wily did a nice job, but he’s had some trouble with big innings lately, so we wanted to get Kyle in there,” Hinch said. ”He did what we needed from him.”
The Indians tied it at 4 against Jose Cisnero in the seventh. Bradley Zimmer led off with a bunt single, took third on a Ramirez double and scored when Ramos grounded out.
”We gave ourselves a chance to win, which is our goal every day,” Hale said. ”We didn’t get the win, but no one can win every time.”
Indians: Ace RHP Shane Bieber (strained rotator cuff) threw a 20-pitch bullpen session. It was the first time he had thrown off a mound since June 13.
Tigers: LHP Matthew Boyd (arm discomfort) started a rehab assignment with Triple-A Toledo on Friday. He allowed two hits in two scoreless innings.
After the game, the Tigers designated right-hander Buck Farmer for assignment and brought up right-hander Drew Hutchison from Triple-A Toledo. Hutchison will be making his first major league start since Aug. 31, 2018, with the Texas Rangers.
NEW ARM IN LEFT
In the third inning, the Indians had runners on the corners with no one out and Ramirez at the plate. The Indians star hit a fly ball to medium left and Myles Straw decided not to test Castro’s arm.
Straw couldn’t know what to expect, since a series of injuries to Tigers outfielders meant Castro was playing his first professional game in left.
”I don’t think I’ve played the outfield in about a decade,” he said. ”I was just preparing for a ball to me, and I just wanted to get into position to throw. I thought he was going to go.”
The play ended up being a key moment, since Peralta was able to escape the inning without a run.
The teams finish their weekend series on Sunday afternoon, with Cleveland’s Tristan McKenzie (1-5, 5.66 ERA) facing Hutchinson.