When Miguel Cabrera came on as a pinch-hitter for the Detroit Tigers with the bases loaded and one out in a tie game, he did exactly what the Texas Rangers hoped he would by hitting the ball on the ground.
Things didn’t go as expected after that.READ MORE: Michigan Reports 7,856 New COVID-19 Cases, 56 Deaths
Instead of an inning-ending double play, Cabrera wound up with a go-ahead RBI infield single when the ball deflected off the glove of just-in reliever Joely Rodriguez.
The Tigers went on to a 5-3 victory Wednesday over the Rangers and previously unbeaten All-Star pitcher Kyle Gibson while also overcoming two more homers by slugger Joey Gallo.
“I’ve never seen Miggie run that fast. … That kind of ignited things,” Tigers manager A.J. Hinch said.
“It’s frustrating because it’s a double play if anybody catches the ball,” Texas manager Chris Woodward said.
With the game tied 2-2 in the seventh, Gibson walked No. 9 batter Jake Rogers to load the bases after Harold Castro had flared a hit to short left-center. Cabrera then got career hit No. 2,924 before Jonathan Schoop blooped a single over first base that dropped just fair for another run before Robbie Grossman, who had an RBI single in the first, walked with the bases still loaded.
“Crazy seventh inning,” Gibson said. “Just kind of felt like whenever they threatened, they did so by finding a hole here, blooping the ball in there.”
Gallo became the first Rangers player ever with 10 homers in a 10-game stretch, and his two solo shots combined went more than 900 feet on the same day that it was announced he would participate in next week’s Home Run Derby.
The All-Star right fielder, with 23 homers overall, also had his fourth outfield assist and drove in the other Texas run when he drew his AL-best 67th walk with the bases loaded in the eighth.
Kyle Funkhouser (3-0) worked two scoreless innings after starter Casey Mize, the former No. 1 overall pick being limited by the Tigers, allowed the Gallo homers in his four innings.
Gregory Soto, Detroit’s only All-Star pick, got the last six outs for his seventh save in as many chances, including consecutive strikeouts after the four-pitch walk to Gallo.
Jeimer Candelario hit a solo homer for the Tigers, who took two of three games to improve to 4-0-1 in their past five series.READ MORE: Whitmer Raises $3.1M For Reelection Campaign In 3 Months
Three days after getting selected to his first All-Star team, Gibson (6-1) struck out seven but allowed eight hits and five runs over 6 1/3 innings. His ERA jumped from an AL-best 1.98 to 2.29.
Former Rangers teammate Lance Lynn, also an All-Star, took over as the league’s ERA leader at 1.99 after six innings for the Chicago White Sox on Wednesday in a win at Minnesota.
Gallo pulled a 440-foot homer into the seats in right-center field in the second. He went even deeper two innings later, with a 462-foot shot that is the longest hit by a Rangers player in the stadium they moved into last season.
“Anytime we could clear the Gallo at-bat without the ball leaving the yard today seemed like a success for us,” Hinch said. “He’s such a dangerous hitter and certainly is locked in for the last couple of weeks being one of the most dangerous hitters in the league.”
UNBEATEN NO MORE
Gibson’s franchise record for a starting pitcher ended at 16 consecutive starts to open the season without a loss. It was the most runs he allowed since his first career opening day start April 1 at Kansas City, when he gave up five runs while getting only one out after Texas had scored five runs in the top of the first inning.
Tigers: CF Daz Cameron was placed on the 10-day injured list, retroactive to Monday when he was scratched from the starting lineup before the series opener because of a sprained big right toe. RHP Spencer Turnbull (strained right forearm) was transferred to the 60-day IL after feeling more symptoms during his throwing program. INF/OF Niko Goodrum (left finger tendon) was reinstated from the 10-day IL.
Rangers: C Jose Trevino (right forearm bruise) won’t be activated before All-Star break, even though he is eligible to come off the 10-day IL as early as Friday. Woodward said Trevino is swinging the bat, but still isn’t close to 100%.
Tigers: Lefty Tarik Skubal (5-7, 4.35 ERA) is set to start Thursday night in the opener of a four-game series at AL Central rival Minnesota.
Rangers: After a day off Thursday, right-hander Jordan Lyles (4-5, 4.98) is scheduled to start in a home series opener against Oakland. He threw 124 pitches Saturday in his previous start.
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