Power bats backed Daniel Norris’ strong arm, and the Tigers beat the Braves, 6-2, Friday night in Atlanta. Miguel Cabrera hit two home runs — and joined a fine collage of black and white photos in the process — while Justin Upton and Ian Kinsler both added solo shots of their own.
The Orioles beat the Yankees to remain 1-1/2 games up on the Tigers. The Red Sox beat the Blue Jays at least, so Detroit is just a half-game out of the second wild card.
It’s hard to say who was more impressive on the night for Detroit. Miguel Cabrera’s 37th and 38th home runs of the season traveled for for approximately 850 feet combined. The first one put Detroit up 3-0 in the first, and the latter gave them a 4-0 cushion in the third.
The second home run put Cabrera in some good company. It was his 70th extra-base hit of the season, giving him 10 seasons of 70 or more extra-base hits. He became the ninth major league player to reach that mark, joining a rare club that includes the likes of Wilile Mays, Hank Aaron, Jimmie Foxx, Babe Ruth and more.
Meanwhile Upton went 3-for-4 himself with a double and home run. It was his 17th home run since Aug. 20.
And then you have Daniel Norris. The Tigers’ starter went 6-2/3 innings, striking out eight and allowing four hits and two walks. The Tigers have now won six of his last seven starts, and he’s gone 19 straight starts without allowing more than three runs in a game.
Oh, and for good measure Francisco Rodriguez struck out the side in the ninth.
In short, this was just the kind of stress-free game your blood pressure needed before the rest of the weekend (and Monday) tries to kill you.
Miguel Cabrera — Two huge bombs of home runs to center field accounted for three of the Tigers’ first four runs.
Daniel Norris — The only run he allowed was a solo home run. He struck out eight and allowed four hits and two walks.
Ian Kinsler -- Ho-hum, just another leadoff home run.
Justin Upton — Clubbed his 30th home run a mile.
Yankees — Hey, letting Baltimore score all those runs is not cool. Not cool at all.
Stats and reactions
- With his second home run Miguel Cabrera hit his 70th extra-base hit of the season. He became just the ninth player in MLB history to have 70 or more extra-base hits for at least 10 seasons. Willie Mays leads with 13, and Hank Aaron had 12. Albert Pujols, Lou Gehrig, and Babe Ruth each had 11. Barry Bonds, Stan Musial, and Jimmy Foxx also have 10. (Full chart here!)
- Also, they weren’t cheapies!
- Hank Greenberg’s name comes up a lot. With the home run Cabrera passed Hank Greenberg (2,950) in total bases with Detroit. Cabrera stands at 2,952 total bases, good for ninth in franchise history. (H/T Tigers)
- Justin Upton reached the 30 home run mark for the second time in his career.
- Upton’s numbers since Aug. 20 are not safe for work. After the home run — his 17th since then -- his slugging average reached .787. SLUGGING. It would have been nice to see him more consistent throughout the year but it’s amazing to see how high his peak is when he’s on his game. And the home runs are immaculate to watch.
- Daniel Norris struck out five straight batters from the fifth to the seventh innings. He threw a season-high 114 pitches. Which was fine. Don’t get bent out of shape over it.
- That makes 19 straight starts Norris has allowed three runs or fewer, which leads the AL and also in HOLY CRAP that’s pretty good.