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Tigers 7, Angels 2: Miguel Cabrera delights with a rare big night

Jordan Zimmermann also managed his first win of the year.

MLB: Detroit Tigers at Los Angeles Angels Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports

Jordan Zimmermann hadn’t seen a ‘W’ next to name since last summer, but strong relief work and a big night at the plate from Miguel Cabrera made it happen as the Tigers downed the Angels 7-2 on Monday night.

The Los Angeles Angels are in a familiar position, fighting desperately for a wild card spot in October with a makeshift pitching staff, and the game’s best player, Mike Trout doing everything he can. They need to take it to the lowly Tigers, but it didn’t happen in the first game of the series.

Pitcher wins and losses are a historical anachronism at this point, sure, kept alive by tradition more than applicability to the modern game, but it had to feel good for Zimmermann to finally earn a win. Of course, there’s a reason the stat is an anachronism. Zimmermann didn’t have a whole lot to do with this one.

He did manage five innings of one-run ball, and wasn’t hit too hard. I’m sure he’ll take it, as it’s been a brutal season for him. However, he emerged by the skin of his teeth in the sixth, working himself into a bases-loaded, one-out jam. Zimmermann was lifted, and then bailed out by a fine performance from Blaine Hardy, who junk-balled Justin Upton and Kole Calhoun for a key pair of strikeouts that were the real difference in the contest.

Miggy’s big night

It’s been another rough season for the big fella as well, but he’ll still remind you who he is from time to time. Cabrera has been working hard with Lloyd McClendon to try and adjust his swing to favor his front side and take the pressure off a balky right knee. In the first inning on Monday night, he produced a familiar sight.

Cabrera wasn’t done either, stepping to the box in the eighth with the bases loaded and the infield pulled in. He promptly jumped on a fastball and drilled it under the glove of shortstop Andrelton Simmons into left field to plate JaCoby Jones and Jordy Mercer.

Earlier, in the fourth inning, Christin Stewart picked up an RBI with a double the opposite way to score Nicholas Castellanos. Jordy Mercer followed in the fifth with a solo shot that gave the Tigers a three-run lead before Zimmermann’s misadventures in the sixth inning.

Stewart would be lifted from the contest after plowing into the wall chasing a Kole Calhoun fly ball that ultimately cleared the fences in left field.

Relief spelled right

For the first time in what feels like weeks, the Tigers were able to display their wares to prospective trade partners with a lead in hand. Buck Farmer allowed a walk and a single, but escaped the seventh with no issues. Joe Jimenez looked good, dropping a couple of nasty changeups in on Shohei Ohtani in particular to punch him out. And most importantly, closer Shane Greene looked great. Greene issued a two-out walk on a close pitch, but was otherwise in complete control of all three pitches, collecting a pair of strikeouts in a scoreless ninth.