video thumbnail

DET@MIN: Cabrera crushes a dramatic go-ahead homer

MINNEAPOLIS -- As they had done in the previous two games of the series with the Twins, the Tigers scored early in Sunday's finale, but it was some late heroics that carried the day in earning a sweep over the Twins.

With the Tigers trailing, 3-2, in the top of the ninth inning, Miguel Cabrera connected on a two-run homer to dead center field off Twins closer Matt Capps to give Detroit a 4-3 victory.

Capps said he was trying to go inside on Cabrera, whom he had down 0-2 in the count, but his next pitch caught too much of the plate.

"I faced [Cabrera] last night and he beat me offspeed away, so we were trying to go hard in. I didn't get it in there as well as I needed to," Capps said.

The Tigers were in danger of wondering what might've been before the Cabrera homer, as they continually failed to capitalize on scoring chances, leaving 10 men on base.

Detroit left the bases loaded twice, once when Don Kelly bounced into a double play in the fourth inning and another time when Brennan Boesch struck out in the fifth.

"I was having nightmares during that game, leaving those guys on out there," manager Jim Leyland said. "We came through finally. We just left too many guys, not very good situational hitting, but we ended up getting through it and ended up getting a big win."

The Twins didn't do a good job of situational hitting, either, as they stranded 11 runners on base.

"We had some chances there at the end," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. "We had some right guys up there but it just didn't work out for us. It's one of those knock the wind out of your sails [games]. So we're a little frustrated in the clubhouse."

Before the Cabrera blast, a bright spot for the Tigers was the continued hot hitting from Prince Fielder and Quintin Berry. Fielder collected five consecutive hits at one point in the series and Berry produced three hits Sunday. Berry has a hit in his first five games at the Major League level, a feat that hasn't been accomplished by a Detroit player since at least 1918.

Berry did it in the field, too, preserving a one-run deficit with a spectacular catch in the eighth inning. With a runner on third and two outs, Twins infielder Jamey Carroll drove a ball to center over the head of Berry, who was playing shallow. Berry raced back and dove backward, fully extended, to make the grab.

"He made a great catch that probably saved the game," Leyland said. "I know he can run, he slaps the ball around pretty good. He can create some stuff for you. He's exciting."

Fielder was an incredible 9-for-12 in the series and reached base eight consecutive times at one point, increasing his average to .317 this season. Berry is now hitting .381.

The Cabrera homer made up for an earlier play in which the Detroit All-Star got caught napping on the basepaths.

After producing a run-scoring single in the first inning, Cabrera was a little lackadaisical returning to first base as the ball was coming back to the infield. Twins second baseman Alexi Casilla took the ball, came up behind Cabrera and tagged his back before Cabrera could put his foot on first base.

Tigers starter Rick Porcello was not razor sharp on the mound, but pitched well enough to give Detroit a chance to win -- despite being visited by the Detroit trainer and Leyland three separate times for potential health reasons.

"Anybody could see I wasn't as sharp as I wanted to be again, but I was able to scratch through six innings, limiting them to three runs," Porcello said. "I have to look at that in a positive manner, we won the game, it was a great win for us."

Early in the game, Porcello came off the mound awkwardly after throwing a pitch, which facilitated the first visit from the training staff. In the third inning, he was visited again after Joe Mauer smashed a line drive off his leg, and one more time in the fourth when he dove headfirst toward first base on a putout of Fielder.

"It was kind of a weird game to be honest, a couple of freaky things going on, but we got through it and got the sweep," Leyland said.

After the game, Porcello said his leg was a little sore and bruised where the liner hit him, but that he should be fine moving forward.

MLB.com Comments