Dose of Venom: Miguel Cabrera showcases MVP talent as Tigers squeak past Diamondbacks
PHOENIX — Miguel Cabrera ripped a 425-foot single off the top of the center field wall — narrowly missing a home run by inches — to propel the Detroit Tigers to a 4-3 win over the Arizona Diamondbacks on Monday night at Chase Field.
Cabrera, 2-for-4 in the game with one RBI, was in fact thrown out on the play trying to reach second base, but Arizona outfielder Mark Trumbo played the ball perfectly off the wall and got the assist.
Furthermore, the umpiring crew initiated and later confirmed its own review of the play to make sure the ball didn’t travel above the yellow line.
Arizona looked lifeless in the first third of the game, failing to get a hit off Justin Verlander (9-8, 4.84 ERA) until the fourth inning, which is when it did most of its damage offensively. Aside from that frame and a rally in the seventh, Verlander was very much in control throughout the evening, finishing with a quality start of 6.2 innings pitched with six hits allowed, three earned runs, three walks and five strikeouts.
The Tigers got the majority of their offense via home runs from Torii Hunter and Austin Jackson. Vidal Nuño (1-6, 5.13 ERA) remarked after the game that he struggled with his consistency and left both pitches in their wheelhouses. Gerardo Parra would later get Nuño off the hook when he tied the game with a solo home run in the sixth inning off Verlander.
Following Cabrera’s go-ahead RBI, the D-backs’ best comeback attempt fell short in the seventh inning. Ender Inciarte singled as a pinch-hitter with one out, but got picked off in the middle of David Peralta’s at-bat. Peralta ended up walking and Aaron Hill put him in scoring position when he singled afterward, but Paul Goldschmidt couldn’t drive either of them in, grounding into a fielder’s choice.
The D-backs looked like a completely different team in the fourth inning versus Verlander. After appearing lifeless the first time through the lineup, they rallied for two runs to make the game 3-2. Hill and Goldschmidt notched consecutive hard hits to produce two runners in scoring position with no outs. Had Verlander not gotten a piece of Miguel Montero’s frozen rope during the next at-bat, the game’s outcome may have been different. The former AL Cy Young winner deflected a line drive off his glove to Ian Kinsler, who was able to retire Montero while allowing only one run to score. This out allowed Verlander to later walk the bases loaded and face the opposing pitcher, Nuño, with two out and escape the jam.
Inciarte made a costly mental error on base paths, getting picked off first base again in the seventh inning of a close game.
Nuño has become a victim of a string of home runs in his recent starts. After making a bad pitch resulting in a grand slam to Buster Posey in his previous outing, he left two pitches in Jackson and Hunter’s wheelhouses that were crushed for homers.
HE SAID IT
“We could’ve pitched around him [Cabrera] definitely, to set up the double play … but more importantly, we made a bad pitch to him,” said D-backs manager Kirk Gibson on Cabrera’s game-winning RBI.
STAT OF THE GAME
Verlander may end up as the most dominant pitcher in interleague play in MLB history. He now has a 13-game interleague winning streak and is 24-2 lifetime vs. the NL, including 6-0 vs. the NL West and 2-0 with a 1.84 ERA (three ER in 14.2 innings pitched) against the Diamondbacks.
– Matt Stites has yet to allow a run in seven appearances at Chase Field with 8.0 shutout innings.
– According to the Diamondbacks, they have scored 26 of their 31 runs after the fifth inning this season over their last nine games.
A pair of right-handed pitchers face off in the second of three games between the D-backs and Tigers. Chase Anderson (6-4, 3.64 ERA) makes his first career start against Detroit, which will send Rick Porcello (12-5, 3.39) to the mound. The Tigers will try to pad their 6.5 game lead in the AL Central over the Cleveland Indians while the D-backs jostle for position with the San Diego Padres for third place in the NL West. Porcello last faced Arizona in 2010, but will be making his Chase Field debut Tuesday at 6:40 p.m. The game can be heard on Arizona Sports 98.7 FM with the pregame show beginning at 6:10 p.m.