Tigers' Miguel Cabrera makes history again, hits in 9 straight plate appearances
So, Akil Baddoo, all those hours you spent playing Miguel Cabrera in video games, did he ever get nine straight hits?
"Um, nope," the Tigers rookie said with a laugh. "This is a lot better seeing it in person, though."
Nearly lost in the late fireworks of the Tigers' dramatic 10-4 win over the Tampa Bay Rays on Friday night, was Cabrera, who at age 38, continues to perform unique feats.
Like getting hits in nine straight plate appearances. Do you know how many players age 38 or older have done that in the modern era of Major League Baseball (since 1961)?
Just one: Jose Miguel Cabrera.
"That's just ridiculous," Baddoo said.
Cabrera came into the game Friday riding a streak of seven straight hits, the longest of his career. Then he lashed singles off Rays starter Michael Wacha in the second inning and again in the fourth inning. Nine straight plate appearances, nine straight hits.
"That feels impossible when you see how good the pitching is and the defense," manager AJ Hinch said. "Miggy's not going to leg out any infield hits. He has to get clean hits for this to happen. He's swinging the bat extremely well to all parts of the field."
The second single came after Wacha had struck out five straight Tigers’ hitters.
"That was nice," said Jonathan Schoop, whose grand slam in the seventh inning propelled the Tigers to the win. "It's nice to play with Miggy and see all the records he's breaking and see how good he is. He's still got it.
"Every time he steps in the box, that's Miguel Cabrera stepping into the box. He could be 0-for-10, but when he steps in the box, that pitcher has to respect him."
Back in 1952, Walt Dropo hit safely in 12 straight at-bats with the Tigers. That tied the Major League record held by Cubs’ Johnny Kling (1902) and Red Sox Pinky Higgins (1938).
His streak came to an end in the sixth. Reliever J.P. Feyereisen struck him out with a slider. It was the first time Cabrera struck out this month. And oddly, the Tigers' fireworks started just as Cabrera's streak ended.
Jeimer Candelario ripped a two-out double to break a 1-1 tie. Schoop hit his slam in the seventh and Victor Reyes launched a 429-foot, three-run homer in the eighth.
"It’s definitely a beautiful thing when he’s on a roll like that," Baddoo said of Cabrera. "You can’t stop him when he’s seeing the ball like that."