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Tigers 5, Pirates 1: Miguel Cabrera and Robbie Grossman lead the way

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Matt Manning and the bullpen had the Pirates offense in check all game.

Detroit Tigers v Pittsburgh Pirates Photo by Justin Berl/Getty Images

Big nights at the plate from Miguel Cabrera and Robbie Grossman powered the Tigers to a win in Pittsburgh, avoiding the series sweep with a 5-1 victory on Wednesday night.

Matt Manning got the start in this one, and it was a good one, if abbreviated. After a leadoff single from Ke’Bryan Hayes, Manning got Yoshi Tsutsugo on a fly ball and then struck out both Brian Reynolds and Colin Moran swinging over sliders to wrap the first inning. In the second, Ben Gamel led off with a ground-rule double and eventually scored. In an 0-2 count, with two outs and pitcher Mitch Keller on deck, Manning got too much plate with a slider and Kevin Newman slapped it through the left side of the infield for an RBI single.

In the third, Manning punched out Hayes, locking him up with a curveball. Tsutsugo doubled, but Manning bounced right back getting both Reynolds and Newman to ground out. The latter ground out ricocheted off Manning’s left knee unfortunately. Catcher Dustin Garneau got the rebound and the out, but Manning was limping pretty badly and that was his last inning of the night. Presumably it’s just a bruise and he should stay on schedule.

On the offensive side, the Tigers had already served Manning a one-run lead. Robbie Grossman singled with two outs in the first inning, and Cabrera doubled him home. Both men sprayed line drives all over the park all game long, would go to collect four hits apiece, but Cabrera reaching hit number 2971 of his storied career. A couple more big nights and reaching 3000 this year isn’t going to be out of the question.

After Manning gave up a run in the second, the Tigers came right back in the third. Manning struck out to start the inning, but Akil Baddoo, Grossman, and Cabrera all singled, with the latter scoring Baddoo.

Drew Hutchison replaced Manning in the fourth, and did a nice job keeping the ball on the ground. Garneau led him well through two scoreless frames, and the offense came back for more in the fifth. Jonathan Schoop walked with one out, and Grossman, Cabrera, and Jeimer Candelario all singled in order, with both Schoop and Grossman coming around to score. In the seventh, Robbie Grossman blasted his 22nd homer on the season, ending his career best mark with a solo shot.

A.J. Hinch turned things over to Derek Holland in the sixth. Holland allowed a single but no more, and then passed the baton to José Ureña for a quick, clean seventh inning. Michael Fulmer showed off his revamped curveball, walking Hayes but getting Tsutsugo to ground into a double play to end the inning.

The Tigers went quickly in the top of the ninth, and it was Gregory Soto time. The big lefty did his thing, touching 100 mph and overpowering everyone he faces. Soto struck out Reynolds to start the ninth, then coolly picked a comebacker from Moran for an easy out. Soto fell behind the pesky Gamel with a few errant fastballs up and in, eventually walking him, but he jammed Jacob Stallings with a fastball for a blooper that was easily reeled in for the final out of the game.

Miggy Things

Jake Rogers undergoes Tommy John surgery

The relative quiet surrounding the Tigers catcher had become a downright painful silence in recent weeks. Rogers had been on the injured list since July 20 with a forearm strain that apparently didn’t respond to treatment. As a result he had UCL reconstruction surgery on Wednesday and will miss a least a year.

This is a pretty big blow to both Rogers and the Tigers. He really seemed to flourish under Hinch’s leadership and was clearly the team’s number one option defensively. Now he’ll be on the shelf most, if not all, of next season, complicating the teams plans to build themselves into a legit contender next year.

The Tigers have had several position players who required UCL surgery in recent years. Derek Hill and Akil Baddoo most notable among them. Both have returned no worse for wear, so hopefully Rogers will make it back with cannon intact next summer.