DETROIT – The last time Miguel Cabrera drove in five runs in a game without a home run, he doubled to rookie Royals starter Luke Hockevar. Cabrera drove in compatriot Carlos Guillén three times. It was July 21, 2008, in the middle of his first season with the Tigers.
Cabrera has done a lot since then, but his most productive games had included at least one home run. Considering the many ways the Tigers are finding to score runs recently – and boy did they do it on Monday at their 14-0 win over Rangers at Comerica Park – perhaps it was only fair that their experienced gunboat did the same.
The Venezuelan’s main hit was a sweeping double down left field in the fifth inning. When he saw that the shot went to the plate, the Venezuelan started towards the anteroom. Catcher Jonah Heim beat him with the shot, but in the replay he showed that Cabrera had dodged the defender’s glove.
The trip from home plate to third was measured at 13.42 seconds by Statcast, the closest the 38-year-old hitter has come to a triple since he last added one in 2016.
In the Tigers’ landslide victory, Cabrera’s connection was the most important of the night.
“His double / triple was a great swing off one of the best pitchers in the American League (Kyle Gibson),” Detroit manager AJ Hinch said. “Anytime you can produce a couple of runs against a pitcher like Gibson, it will give you peace of mind and confidence that you are in control of the game.”
Cabrera returned to the plate in the sixth inning with the bases loaded. This time, a single to the left of the field produced two lines.
The Venezuelan has not homered since June 30 at Cleveland and has not homered at Comerica Park since the home run he hit in the snow on Opening Day April 1. His path to 500 homers has been delayed a bit, but he has found a way to produce differently. He’s hitting .303 (132-40) since June 1 with 22 RBIs, despite only adding three homers and nine extra-base hits since then.
The future Hall of Famer is hitting .292 (72-21) on the year with men in scoring position, driving in 31 runs with just four extra-base hits. He is 12-7 with 16 RBIs with the bases loaded. Age has taken the explosiveness out of his body, but his mind has allowed him to stay productive in times of stress.
Those little hits have increased their chances of making the prestigious 3,000 hit club this year. He is now 38th on the all-time list at 2,931, after tying and overtaking the immortal Rogers Hornsby and Jake Beckley on the same day. His next undisputed hit will tie him with another Hall of Famer, Willie Keeler.
“These are important moments for Miggy and for our organization, our group of fans,” Hinch said. “He has given so much to this franchise and now he reminds us of it while leaving such big names on the road. Miggy is in that elite ”.