DETROIT — After two rain delays, a poor start by top rookie pitcher Michael Fulmer, and one memorable blast by Miguel Cabrera, the Tigers beat the Indians, 6-3, in a game shortened to five innings.
Baltimore rallied against the Blue Jays for a victory, so the Tigers remain a game out of the second wild card spot.
Cabrera’s three-run, line-drive home run to right field proved to be the difference maker for the Tigers, who trailed 1-0 in the first inning when it became clear that Fulmer didn’t have his best stuff. Cabrera’s homer came with one out in the fifth inning and steadily increasing rain leaving a feeling a second delay could be a long one. He swung at the first pitch he saw, all but ensuring the game would be made official if weather didn’t cooperate rather than force a suspended game that would be resumed on Thursday.
A little rain isn't going to slow Miggy. pic.twitter.com/xAMghsvCAQ— Detroit Tigers (@tigers) September 29, 2016
As soon as the third out of the inning was recorded, home plate umpire Hunter Wendelstedt consulted with Tigers grounderskeeper Heather Nabozny and signaled for the tarp. After a delay of about an hour and 10 minutes, the game was made official.
Before that it was a back-and-forth affair. The Indians took a 1-0 lead into the first delay — which lasted about 45 minutes -- after Fulmer allowed a walk and a double in the first, compounded by his own throwing error on a pickoff attempt.
Detroit took the lead in the bottom of the third after Jose Iglesias and James McCann both doubled against Indians reliever Zach McAllister, then Ian Kinsler hit a home run to put Detroit up 3-1.
Fulmer came back in the top of the fourth after nearly an hour on the bench, to the surprise of all, but remained ineffective. A pair of singles surrounding a groundout put Cleveland within 3-2, and Carlos Santana tied it at 3-3 with a single off Tigers reliever Blaine Hardy.
Fulmer finished the day at three runs allowed on six hits and three walks. He pitched just 3-1/3 innings, leaving him three short of being qualified for the ERA title. Unless something really weird happens he’ll fall short on that front with an ERA of 3.06 for the year.
He did do something impressive, however. The Indians loaded the bases with no outs in the top of the third on a double and two walks, but a popout, a foul fly and a grounder helped Fulmer and the Tigers get out of it unscathed.
Blaine Hardy earned the win in relief allowing two walks and a hit in 1-2/3 innings.
Ian Kinsler: Knocked a two-run homer to left to put the Tigers ahead for the first time.
Miguel Cabrera: Blasted an opposite-field three-run shot in the fifth to give the Tigers a 6-3 lead.
Jose Iglesias: Hit an RBI double in the third, and started the fifth inning with a single to right.
Michael Fulmer: Lasted just 3 1⁄3 innings, giving up six hits and three runs in the process. He also allowed three walks amid three strikeouts.
STATS AND REACTIONS:
- Ian Kinsler’s homer in the third inning was his 27th of the year, which ties him with Damion Easley (1998) for the second-most dingers by a second baseman in franchise history. He’s one away from tying Lou Whitaker (1989) for the team record (28).
- Miguel Cabrera’s homer in the fifth was his 36th of the year and his 306th as a Tiger, tying Tigers great Hank Greenberg.
WIN PROBABILITY GRAPH: