DETROIT — Kyle Lobstein has become the stopper for the Tigers. Sunday night he earned his first major league victory as the Tigers won 6-1 to avoid being sweep by the Giants. Miguel Cabrera homered yet again, leading the offensive charge and the Tigers recorded four stolen bases.
Kyle Lobstein tossed 5 2/3 innings of one-run ball, striking out three en-route to earning his first win at the major league level. He kept the ball down and mixed his pitches effectively, holding the Giants to just four hits while walking two. The only run Lobstein allowed came in the fifth inning and his performance helped the Tigers snap a two-game losing streak with the Royals coming into town.
"Getting ahead of hitters, first-pitch strikes, especially the first few innings was pretty good," Lobstein said. "I was pretty happy about that, especially from the last couple innings. That was the big thing going into this outing that I was wanting to do."
Miguel Cabrera is looking more like his old self, though that's far from true. But since Cabrera took two days off and was resigned to designated hitting duties for several days, he's been slugging the ball like he's making up for lost time. In many ways, he is, and doing so on one foot. Cabrera launched a two-run home run without any weight on his right foot in the third inning and later singled in another run in the seventh.
"That was exciting," Lobstein said of Cabrera's home run. "Kind of jumpstarted the offense a little bit so that helped out a lot. Anytime you score runs, going back your half inning, going out and pitching, you want to shut them down. It's huge when your team scores runs and you go out there and put up a zero for them."
The home run provided momentum for the offense as they knocked the Giants pitching staff around for 12 hits, driving in three additional runs in support of Lobstein and Cabrera. After several days where the bats could get no well-timed hits, it was good to see them hitting, and hitting well. A missed opportunity in the fourth showed quiet bats from Nick Castellanos and Alex Avila, but the same could not be said about the remaining lineup.
The Tigers played aggressively and they were able to rob the Giants, two that came from Andrew Romine and two of the stolen bases came around to score. Defensively the game was solid and strong cutoff throw from Torii Hunter in the seventh inning prevented the Giants from scoring.
Sunday night's win avoided a sweep and gave the team critical momentum going into what can easily be considered the most important series of the season for the Tigers. If Detroit takes two out of three in the series, they will be one game behind the Royals, but if Detroit sweeps Kansas City, the Tigers will be in sole possession of first place in the American League Central Division. For now, the Tigers remain two games behind the Royals.
"Every win is crucial," Torii Hunter said. "We need it. Every game is crucial right now. We just need to go out there and play our game. We had some rough games the last two days, and today we hit the ball well, we came through in some clutch situations, so it felt good all around."
Kyle Lobstein: The walks need to come down, having walked at least four, one and three batters in each of his last outings. But other than that, Lobstein has performed well as the Tigers' fifth starter. He gave up just one run on only four hits in 5 2/3 innings of work, walking two and striking out three batters. A resounding solid start and one badly needed.
Miguel Cabrera: Hit his 22nd home run of the season in the third inning, a two-run shot straight at the Charlie Gehringer portion of the left field brick wall. It was his third home run in two days. Cabrera also hit an RBI single in the seventh inning with two outs, giving him 100 RBI for the season. (MLB.com video)
Torii Hunter: He followed a one-out single in the first inning with an RBI single in the third, putting the Tigers on the board. Hunter plated Andrew Romine, who had hit a one-out single and then stolen second base to get in scoring position. Hunter finished 3-4 with the RBI
Blaine Hardy: He entered the seventh inning with two on and one out, replacing Alburquerque who was unable to throw a strike. Hardy got the next batter to flyout and a strong cutoff throw by Hunter kept runners at the corners. A popout to foul territory got Hardy, and the Tigers, out of a huge jam that could have had devastating results.
Ian Kinsler/Victor Martinez: Both were hitless coming into the seventh inning, both blasted RBI doubles with one and two out accordingly. Martinez's was hit so hard that a hobbled Cabrera scored from first (!) base.
Nick Castellanos: A dull 0-4 with two strikeouts, though the flyout in the sixth inning just missed home run status. Get back in the weight room, kid.
Alex Avila: Two strikeouts and an 0-4 night. Anything but productive.
The Bullpen (Hardy excluded): Al Alburquerue and Jim Johnson didn't allow a run, but neither were able to find the strike zone in the seventh and eighth innings. After getting the final out of the sixth inning for Lobstein via a deep, loud flyout to center, Alburquerque allowed a leadoff single and walked the next batter. Ausmus left Johnson on the mound to fend for himself and Johnson eventually wiggled out of it. Phil Coke allowed a leadoff single and a walk in the ninth inning, escaping only due to a double play and a groundout that ended the game.
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ESPN's Buster Olney reported before the game that Miguel Cabrera has right ankle bone spurs and would undergo surgery in the offseason. Ausmus confirmed after the game that Cabrera does have one bone spur, but stated that a decision had not been reached regarding offseason treatment for their ailing slugger.
Joakim Soria threw without pain Friday and will toss a simulated game on Monday. If everything goes well, Soria could return to the Tigers this week. Anibal Sanchez picked up a baseball for the first time in two weeks, tossing a light 30-pitch, 45 foot session. He will throw again on Monday.
Ausmus challenged the call that Gregor Blanco was safe at first base when Blaine Hardy attempted to pick him off. After a 1:38 review, the call stood and Blanco remained at first base, Ausmus losing his challenge.
STREAKS AND STATS:
- Miguel Cabrera hit the 387th home run of his career in the third inning. Cabrera is two home runs away from tying Johnny Bench for 59th in MLB history. The home run by Cabrera was also his 22nd homer and 99th RBI of the season.
- Cabrera's RBI single in the seventh inning was his 100th RBI for the season. The hit marked the 11th consecutive season Cabrera has hit 100-or-more RBI in a single season. It also extended his hitting streak to seven games.
- Miguel Cabrera is just the second Tiger with seven straight seasons with at least 100 RBI. The other is Harry Heilmann from 1923-1929. Cabrera is the fifth player in MLB history to record 100-or-more RBI in 11 straight seasons. The others were Lou Gehrig (13), Jimmie Foxx (13), Alex Rodriguez (13), and Al Simmons (11).
- Victor Martinez hit an RBI double in the seventh inning, extending his hitting streak to eight games and extended his on-base streak to 26 games. The hit also gave him 95 RBI for the season and he now trails Cabrera by five RBI.
- The Tigers had three stolen bases in a game for the ninth time this season and first time since August 30 at Chicago against the White Sox. Don Kelly stole his sixth of the season in the second inning, Andrew Romine stole his eighth in the third (and later his ninth in the seventh), and J.D. Martinez stole his sixth in the fourth.
- Don Kelly has as many walks (19) as Eugenio Suarez in 90 fewer plate appearances and one less than Torii Hunter in 330 fewer plate appearances.
- Torii Hunter recorded three hits, his first three-hit game since August 23 in game two against the Minnesota Twins.
- Andrew Romine got the second two-steal game of his career Sunday night. He stole one in the third inning and again in the seventh (which led directly to another run). Romine's first two-steal game occurred on April 20 against his former team, the L.A. Angels.
- Romine's stolen base in the seventh inning gave the Tigers four stolen bases in a game for the first time since August 18, 2009 against the Seattle Mariners.
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