« Continue Browsing

e-mail article Print     e-mail article E-mail

Jon Krawczynski / AP Sports Writer, Published September 29 2012

Cabrera homers as Tigers defeat Twins

MINNEAPOLIS – Miguel Cabrera hit a three-run homer to move into at least a tie for the lead in all three triple crown categories and Justin Verlander struck out eight in seven innings to help the Detroit Tigers increase their lead in the AL Central with a 6-4 victory over the Minnesota Twins on Saturday.

Cabrera’s blast in the eighth inning off Casey Fien was his 43rd home run of the year, moving him into a tie with Texas star Josh Hamilton for the AL lead. He also leads the AL in batting average (.327) and RBIs (136) as he looks to become the first player since 1967 to lead the league in all three categories.

Verlander (17-8) allowed four hits and one unearned run to drop his ERA to 2.64 for the Tigers, who moved two games ahead of the Chicago White Sox in the division.

Cabrera’s homer proved to be a big one after Ryan Doumit hit a grand slam off of Joaquin Benoit in the eighth.

Al Alburquerque helped the Detroit bullpen do what it couldn’t do against the lowly Twins on Friday night – finish the game. Jose Valverde picked up his 33rd save. Prince Fielder and Andy Dirks also went deep for Detroit.

Chicago lost to Tampa Bay 10-4 moments before the final out of the Tigers game.

P.J. Walters (2-5) gave up two runs on four hits with five strikeouts in five innings for the Twins. Joe Mauer went 0-for-3 with two walks, dropping his average to .320.

One day after Detroit lost a game of cushion to the White Sox when reliever Brayan Villarreal let a lead slip away against the Twins, Verlander came out determined to make sure the Tigers kept the pressure on Chicago.

With a free and easy delivery, the right-hander started the day as he often does, keeping his fastball at 93 or 94 mph while keeping the Twins off balance with an array of off-speed pitches. He started to ramp things up in the fourth when he blew Justin Morneau away with consecutive fastballs of 98 and 99 and hit 100 later in the inning.

It wasn’t just Verlander’s dazzling stuff that gave the Twins hitters problems. The afternoon shadows at Target Field make it very difficult for hitters to pick up the ball coming out of the pitcher’s hand and often contributes to slow days for the offense.

That appeared to be the case early for Cabrera as well, who was befuddled by Walters. The slugger struck out in his first two at-bats and flew out to right in his third. Cabrera entered the day leading Mauer by five points in the batting race, Hamilton by eight in the RBI race, but trailing Hamilton by one in homers.

The bigger prize, of course, is the division title. Neither the Tigers nor the Sox will qualify for one of two wild cards in the American League, so their only way in is through the division door.

Detroit Minnesota

ab r h bi ab r h bi

AJcksn cf 5 1 1 0 Span cf 4 1 0 0

Berry lf 4 1 1 0 Revere lf 5 0 2 0

MiCarr 3b 4 1 1 3 Mauer dh 3 1 0 0

Fielder 1b 4 1 1 1 Mornea 1b 4 1 0 0

DYong dh 4 0 0 0 Doumit c 4 1 1 4

Dirks rf 4 2 2 1 Parmel rf 4 0 1 0

JhPerlt ss 4 0 1 1 Plouffe 3b 4 0 2 0

Avila c 4 0 0 0 JCarrll 2b 3 0 0 0

Infante 2b 3 0 1 0 Flormn ss 3 0 0 0

Totals 36 6 8 6 Totals 34 4 6 4

Detroit 020 000 040— 6

Minnesota 000 000 040— 4

E—Jh.Peralta (7), Plouffe (18). LOB—Detroit 5, Minnesota 9. 2B—Jh.Peralta (32), Plouffe (17). HR—Mi.Cabrera (43), Fielder (29), Dirks (8), Doumit (18). SB—A.Jackson (12), Berry (21), Infante (5), Revere (39).

IP H R ER BB SO

Detroit

Verlander W,17-8 7 4 1 0 2 8

Benoit Zc 1 3 3 2 0

Alburquerque H,1 Xc 1 0 0 1 2

Valverde S,33-38 1 0 0 0 1 0

Minnesota

Walters L,2-5 5 4 2 2 1 5

Duensing 1Xc 0 0 0 0 2

Al.Burnett Zc 1 2 2 1 0

Fien 1 2 2 2 0 1

Perdomo 1 1 0 0 0 1

Al.Burnett pitched to 2 batters in the 8th.

Verlander pitched to 1 batter in the 8th.

Balk—Alburquerque.

T—3:23. A—32,839 (39,500).