Though the Tigers did not get on the board until the fifth inning of Wednesday’s win over the Baltimore Orioles, it was apparent early that they were in control.
They loaded the bases in both the first and third innings but failed to scratch any runs across — until Miguel Cabrera put himself one longball away from history.
The 499th home run of his Hall of Fame career gave Detroit the lead, and they extended their lead shortly thereafter with a Niko Goodrum two-run double. Unfortunately, he appeared to reaggravate the lower body injury he returned from earlier this week. Goodrum, who started the game in left field, exited after sliding into second and was replaced by recent call-up Zack Short.
The Detroit outfield is currently held together by stitches with Daz Cameron in Toledo for a rehab assignment and the recent injuries to Akil Baddoo and Derek Hill, who collided in the outfield chasing a fly ball on Tuesday night. If Goodrum goes back on the injured list, Al Avila will have a decision to make regarding on which outfielder to call up — unless they want to roll with Harold Castro, Victor Reyes and Robbie Grossman.
But Goodrum’s injury didn’t halt the offense. Cabrera came back up in the sixth and made a bid for his milestone home run, but he jotted back to the dugout with a sacrifice fly instead. Jonathan Schoop scored on a wild pitch shortly thereafter.
Cabrera’s homer wasn’t the only milestone he got closer to. The big man collected three hits, sticking him at exactly 2,950 hits with 46 games left in the season.
Meanwhile, Tarik Skubal was putting together one of the best starts of his young career. The southpaw hurled six scoreless innings, allowed five hits while punching out six birds, walking just one. The Orioles didn’t get a runner to second until Skubal wild pitched Trey Mancini to second after walking him in the fourth inning. Catcher Eric Haase helped out in the fifth, as he and Skubal wrapped the frame with a strikeout and throw out of Jorge Mateo trying to steal second. In the sixth, a pair of two-out singles threatened Skubal’s shutout, but after a mound visit he retired Ramon Urias on a weak grounder to complete his outing.
He also passed former (and future?) Tiger Justin Verlander for most strikeouts by a Detroit rookie in one season.
Most strikeouts in a single season by a #Tigers rookie (since 1947):— Tigers PR (@DetroitTigersPR) August 12, 2021
155 - Nate Robertson, 2004
146 - Spencer Turnbull, 2019
132 - Michael Fulmer, 2016
** 127 - Tarik Skubal, 2021 **
126 - Armando Galarraga, 2008
124 - Justin Verlander, 2006 pic.twitter.com/kc5kP5Pv38
Joe Jimenez found himself in a sticky seventh inning as his fastball command was sketchy this time out, but Jose Cisenero kept up the newfound tradition of Tiger bullpen excellence by stranding a pair of runners.
The same can’t be said for Erasmo Ramirez. He was tasked with the eighth inning, but new Tiger killer Anthony Santander launched a two-run home run into the Camden Yards right field concourse.
The watch for 500 continued in the ninth, but Cabrera hit a first pitch ground ball to end the speculation.
Gregory Soto entered for the save, and though the O’s got two runners on with two outs, Soto got Austin Hays to ground out to third to wrap up his 14th save of the season.