Tigers' Davis keeps running while Cabrera is left to walk

Chris McCosky
The Detroit News

Detroit — Miguel Cabrera walked four times, three times were intentional.

Indians manager Terry Francona has made no secret that if Cabrera is healthy, he's not going to let him beat his team. So, in four at-bats he saw 12 pitches. Saw. Not swung at.

But, when he came to bat in the eighth inning, Rajai Davis was on second and Ian Kinsler was on first. There were two outs. At last, Cabrera was going to get a chance to hit.

Not so fast.

Davis, who already stole two bases Saturday, stole third and Kinsler followed his lead and took second. Suddenly first base was open and Cabrera could be walked again.

"That was Raj being Raj," manager Brad Ausmus said, with a chuckle, after the Tigers secured a 4-1 win. "I talked to him after. He has a stop sign. He just never saw it. It happens."

Davis, though, defended his decision to swipe third base.

"Well, we have good players hitting behind Miggy," Davis said. "Victor (Martinez) is really good and J.D. (Martinez) is really good. I think it's a lot more pressure with bases loaded than with two guys on."

It looked like Bryan Shaw was going to walking him again. But on a 3-0 pitch, Cabrera took his first swing of the game. And flew out to center.

Kinsler was kind of sheepish about it. Asked about possible (non-serious) repercussions from Cabrera, Kinsler chuckled.

"Yeah, that's all right," he said. "Then you have to deal with Victor if we're not taking the bat out of Miggy's hands. Victor would be upset that he's not going to hit with the bases loaded.

"Either way you have to pick your poison and Raj has got to pick his poison, too."

Davis, who scored three of the four runs, stole three bases Saturday and the Tigers five as a team.

"His legs allow him to do a lot in this game," Ausmus said.

The Real Soria

Closer Joakim Soria is taking all the drama out of the ninth inning — and nobody is complaining about that.

"No, I am just trying to go out there and have it done," he said after retiring the Indians in order for his sixth save.

It took 17 pitches, 12 strikes, to dispatch David Murphy (ground out), Lonnie Chisenhall (tapper to the mound) and Roberto Perez (strikeout).

"I don't think we ever saw the real Soria last year," Ausmus said. "This is the real Soria, this is the guy we traded for."

The two-time All-Star dealt with injuries and overall ineffectiveness once he got to Detroit in July last season. His out pitch, a cut fastball, had deserted him. It's back now.

"It's my command," he said. "I feel like my command is the key right now, on my fastball and all of my pitches. I was able to locate where I wanted. It was just that last hitter I fell behind in the count. But I was able to make pitches and get him out.

"Last season is last year, you have to move forward and enjoy what you do. Just go out and have fun and try to get that losing streak over with."

Done and done.

Around the horn

…Michael Brantley is 7 for 8 with two doubles and two RBI in this series. In his last 200 at-bats against the Tigers spanning three years, he's hitting .365 with 17 doubles, 6 homers and 34 RBI. So, would Ausmus consider walking him every time like Francona walks Cabrera? "He's a Tiger-killer, at least he has been while I've been here," Ausmus said. "I am sure there will be times when we will walk him. Today was not one of those days."

…The Tigers are striking out at an alarming rate. They struck out 10 more times Saturday. They have struck out 33 times in the last three games and 51 times in the last 5.

…Shortstop Jose Iglesias appeared to running gingerly after he grounded out in the fourth inning. Ausmus said it was a by-product of fouling a ball off his calf Friday night. Iglesias had a hit and a stolen base Saturday. He also made a spectacular diving catch in the seventh inning.

Chris McCosky on Twitter @cmccosky

Indians at Tigers
First pitch: 1:08: p.m., Sunday
TV/radio: FSD, 97.1, 1270.
Scouting report
RHP Carlos Carrasco (2-1, 2.38), Indians: The Tigers have hit him hard in the past. They have racked up 31 runs in 40.2 innings in 13 appearances (eight starts) against him. He pitched well against them last season, though. In two starts, he went 1-1, allowing six runs in 18 innings. In five appearances at Comerica Park, he is 1-3 with a 9.19 ERA.
LHP Kyle Lobstein (1-1, 3.27), Tigers: Lobstein needs to find a way to get started on time. In his last two starts he's allowed three runs, five hits and three walks in his first two innings. He settled down after that, particularly in his last start against the Yankees. He should be effective against the predominantly left-handed Indians lineup, but they got him for three runs and eight hits back on April 12 in Cleveland.