Miguel Cabrera’s outburst befuddles victorious Rays

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — There seemed to be heated words from the Detroit Tigers’ Miguel Cabrera toward the Tampa Bay Rays’ dugout Saturday, but there are few answers as to why.

Cabrera, who went 1 for 4, struck out on five pitches against reliever Fernando Rodney in the 10th inning of the Rays’ 4-3 victory over the Tigers at Tropicana Field. After the sequence, Cabrera appeared to jaw at Rodney, when in fact the closer said Cabrera had words for Tampa Bay’s dugout for an unknown reason.

“He turned to the dugout,” Rodney said. “I don’t know what he was saying. … It was to the dugout, not to me.”

Afterward, Rays players such as reliever Joel Peralta and catcher Jose Molina were asked about Cabrera’s message. They, too, were uncertain what Cabrera said.

For his part, Cabrera offered no comment about the situation.

It is unknown for sure, but there might have been some displeasure about a high fastball from Rodney that buzzed near Cabrera’s chin four pitches into the at-bat. After the 98-mph high-and-inside fastball, Cabrera stepped from the plate and took a moment to gather himself. Rodney threw an 86-mph changeup on the next pitch.

According to Rodney, Cabrera said, “Wow,” after Rodney struck him out. But then the slugger’s pointed words that followed, according to Rodney, were directed toward the Rays’ dugout.

Detroit manager Jim Leyland, for one, wasn’t pleased.

“I don’t care about throwing inside,” Leyland said. “But I don’t like it up there. We will not tolerate that. You can take that to the bank. We won’t tolerate that up to the head, to anybody. I’m not accusing anybody of anything, but we won’t tolerate that. … If you’re throwing down at the legs, in or something, for a purpose, I don’t have any problem with that, but not upstairs. That will cause a lot of problems for people.”

Cabrera, who is batting .375 this season, had caused Tampa Bay plenty of problems earlier in the series. He went 4 for 4 with two home runs and three RBI in the Tigers’ 6-3 victory Friday.

However, the Rays clubhouse offered few answers about a curious situation involving the Tigers’ star Saturday.

“It seems like Miguel might have been upset, and I really don’t know why,” Rays manager Joe Maddon said. “But it looked like he was. … There was no intent (on Rodney’s pitch). … I was just watching the whole thing. I was kind of surprised.”

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