Detroit — It was, in a sense, a Catch-22 situation for Miguel Cabrera.It was the seventh inning Saturday of the Tigers’ runaway 12-4 win over the Royals and Cabrera was on third base with one out. Victor Martinez lofted a fly ball to relatively shallow left field.
The Tigers were up by 10 runs at the time. So, it was completely an unnecessary risk for Cabrera to tag and try to score. And yet, he represented an RBI that Martinez most certainly wanted cashed.
“If he hadn’t tried to score, Victor might’ve worn him out in the clubhouse,” manager Ron Gardenhire said, with a chuckle. “You’ve to got to make your choice.”
Cabrera tagged and scored easily. Martinez caught up to Cabrera in front of the dugout and locked him up in a bear hug.
“We couldn’t really talk to Miggy because Victor was hugging him,” Gardenhire said. “We didn’t get to say too much. But he wants to play for his teammates. He wanted to score for Vic. There you have it — rumbling, stumbling, scoring.”
Cabrera, who reached base four times and knocked in three runs, just smiled when asked about the play.
“I must be lucky,” he said with a laugh. “No, we’ve got good coaches here and we get good reports. If you are going to be aggressive on the bases you have to know when to run and when to stay on the base.”
The Tigers banged out 16 hits and took advantage of eight walks by Royals pitchers. Two of the walks drove in runs and four of the walked batters came around to score. It’s not an easy feat to score 12 while also leaving another 12 on base.
“We had the perfect amount of aggressiveness, but we were also patient,” said Nick Castellanos who had three hits, including his first home run of the season. “We didn’t chase too much out of the zone. We didn’t help them out.
“We made them come to us and good things happen when you do that.”
Castellanos, who knocked in three, went 81 at-bats before he got his first dinger.
“I didn’t think about it at all,” he said of the mini-drought. “It was only a matter of time. What is it going to be, like I’m never going to hit a homer for the rest of my career?”
JaCoby Jones hit his second home run in as many days.
“It’s always fun when you are winning,” Cabrera said. “When you are losing, it’s hard sometimes to put on a smile and act like you are enjoying the game. But when you are winning, everything comes easier. Hopefully, we keep doing things that give us a chance to win games.”
Jones, who delivered a walk-off homer in Game 1 Friday, homered again in the sixth inning Saturday. Jose Iglesias had three hits and scored twice. Leonys Martin had a double, single and walk and scored twice.
“It’s just trusting the guys behind you and keeping the line moving,” Castellanos said. “When you are getting one quality at-bat after another, their pitch count is going to go up and frustration sets in.
“We did a good job today, one through nine.”
The Tigers broke a 3-3 tie in the fifth inning, scoring three times — all with two outs and two on bases-loaded walks. They also spoiled a bid for history by Royals lefty reliever Tim Hill.
Dixon Machado’s two-run single scored Martinez from second base, which made it 4-3 and moved Iglesias to third. That was the end of the line for Royals starter Danny Duffy, who was pitching on three-days rest and had given up 10 hits at that point.
Hill was summoned to face left-handed hitting Martin. Hill had not allowed a hit in seven outings covering 6⅔ innings this season. He needed one more hitless outing to tie the major-league mark of eight straight hitless outings to start a career.
Martin foiled him, dropping a perfect bunt between the mound and third base on the first pitch he saw.
Streak over. Bases loaded.
Hill proceeded to walk Jeimer Candelario (two hits, two RBIs) and Cabrera before departing.
“The offense beat the ball around pretty good,” Gardenhire said. “After last night, after a really tough loss in the nightcap of the doubleheader, that was a good rebound. These guys came back and really got after it.
“That’s what I expected them to do. We don’t want anything to lull or drag and it didn’t.”