Any game that ends 17-4 is tough to recap, but in the waning days of Miguel Cabrera’s professional baseball career, it’s a bit easier to shrug off a blowout and find the silver linings.
The Houston Astros battered the Detroit Tigers' pitching staff for most of Sunday afternoon, claiming a three-game series that looked within reach after a Parker Meadows walk-off home run on Friday. The Tigers got a look at top competition this weekend, and got a good look at the climb required to become a consistent October threat once again.
Alex Faedo got the start for the Tigers, but he burned through 95 pitches over 4 2⁄3 innings, struggled to get whiffs, and turned the ball over to the bullpen earlier than anyone wanted him to. Houston’s Kyle Tucker got to him in the third inning for a two-run homer, but it was a lack of command that did Faedo in.
He gave up four walks in total, but the most costly came in the fourth with the bases loaded. Yordan Alvarez worked the count full and sent four straight balls foul before finally taking a walk.
Meanwhile, Justin Verlander was cruising his way to five shutout innings for the Astros. He struck out seven Tigers, including his former teammate Miguel Cabrera.
Verlander vs. Miggy was epic. Two Tigers legends going at it, and it ended with Miggy taking a 78-mph curveball that painted the top of the zone. It’s a shame that this at-bat didn’t come when both were at their peak. Of course, it was the end of Cabrera’s prime years that heralded the Verlander trade in the first place.
Still, prime Miggy was nuts. If he laid off a pitch, the umpires assumed it wasn’t a strike. If it was, he would have hit it... far. Cabrera isn’t in the business of hitting balls far much these days (foreshadowing), but he still trusts his eye — even if the umpires have moved on.
Back in the dugout, Cabrera fumbled around with an iPad and lit up when he saw how close the pitch was. A strikeout has never been so entertaining...
Miggy’s second at-bat against Verlander ended in a soft ground out to third, and Houston removed JV ahead of the sixth (when Cabrera was leading off). Despite pitching just five innings, Verlander secured his 100th win at Comerica Park. Only six pitchers in the last 50 years have reached the century mark at one ballpark.
Will Vest and Tyler Holton held things together through the sixth for Detroit, but the latter broke down in the seventh and gave up four runs. Holton nearly got out of the jam after giving up just two outs, but he couldn’t find the third out of the inning after Javier Baez and Andy Ibanez turned a double play.
Mauricio Dubon and Martin Maldonado sent back-to-back homers to left field, and Jason Foley came in to regain control of a game that was already lost. Things went from bad to worse in the eighth when Andrew Vasquez took over. A botched fielder’s choice helped load the bases and Jeremy Pena tripled in two runs to bring the score to 11-0.
A. J. Hinch waived the white flag and put in catcher Carson Kelly to pitch, presumably to save some arms from further embarrassment. At least he got to feel what it’s like to be on the pitching end of a strikeout for once.
FIRST CAREER STRIKEOUT FOR CARSON KELLY!!!! pic.twitter.com/QaDJPPa0Zn— Joe M (@jFudgy_) August 27, 2023
Surprisingly, Kelly only gave up two runs, and both came on the same swing. He worked his way through the eighth, and Zack Short pitched the ninth for the Tigers. Short gave up three more runs before sending it to the bottom of the ninth. I guess the Astros didn’t have a flight to catch...
After Detroit went down by two touchdowns, the bats woke up!
Miguel Cabrera hit a three-run home run in the bottom of the eight. It was his 510th career homer, which moves him into the No. 26 spot all-time, passing Gary Sheffield. I see you, Big Fella. Mel Ott at 511 is next on the list.
Every at-bat counts.— Detroit Tigers (@tigers) August 27, 2023
Miggy gets No. 510! pic.twitter.com/NqGDXWBT4z
Zach McKinstry homered in the ninth, making it 17-4, and the misery was finally over.
The Tigers head to New York for a four-game series, starting Monday.