Miguel Cabrera returned with a bang as the Detroit Tigers took the opener of this four-game set.
That shouldn’t come as much of a surprise to the Cleveland Indians, who haven’t been able to contain the slugger.
Looking to keep pace in the AL Central race, Cabrera and the Tigers go for a fifth consecutive road win over the Indians on Tuesday night.
Cabrera went 4 for 5 with two homers, three RBIs and four runs in Monday’s 12-1 victory after sitting out the day before with a lingering ankle issue. The reigning two-time AL MVP had gone 1 for his previous 16 before breaking out.
"It was good to see Miggy do that," manager Brad Ausmus said. "It’s been a while. Who knows, maybe this is a flash point for him."
Victor Martinez and J.D. Martinez also went deep as the Tigers (75-62) remained neck-and-neck with Kansas City for the division lead. Tyler Collins added a three-run shot in the ninth inning while pinch hitting for Cabrera.
Cabrera is batting .423 with three homers, seven doubles, 10 RBIs and 12 runs in 13 games against the Indians this year. His 22 home runs in the series since 2010 are his most against any team during that time, and his 21 at Progressive Field are the most by any opposing player in the park’s 20-year history.
"He’s not running real good, but I’m not sure it matters when you’re jogging," Indians manager Terry Francona said of Cabrera. "His bat’s not broken."
Detroit is 6-7 against Cleveland, but it’s won four straight road meetings by a combined 33-13 score.
The Indians (70-65) had won six of seven before Monday’s rout, dropping four games behind the Tigers. Carlos Santana drove in Cleveland’s only run as the team finished 0 for 6 with runners in scoring position.
Another stellar showing from Carlos Carrasco (6-4, 3.01 ERA) could help the Indians bounce back. The right-hander is 3-0 with a 0.73 ERA in four starts since rejoining the rotation Aug. 10, striking out 24 and walking three over 24 2-3 innings.
Carrasco struck out seven over 6 2-3 innings of one-run ball to beat the Chicago White Sox 3-2 on Thursday.
"You know, that’s what I’ve been doing the last few games – attack the hitters," he said. "I just need to do my job and keep the team in there."
While Carrasco has allowed one run over 6 1-3 innings of relief against the Tigers this year, he’s 1-4 with a 10.55 ERA in five starts in the series. Torii Hunter is 6 for 12 with four extra-base hits – two homers – in their matchups.
Tigers rookie Kyle Lobstein (0-0, 3.09) is set to make his second big league start. The left-hander gave up two runs – one earned – and four hits over six innings in Thursday’s 3-2 win over the New York Yankees.
"He’s not a guy that’s going to wow you with anything or strike out a lot of guys, but he’s a guy who’s going to throw strikes," catcher Alex Avila told MLB’s official website. "He’s fearless up there. He’s going to change speeds and pitch to contact and try to induce weak contact. The way he threw today was exactly what I expected. He did a great job."
Victor Martinez is a career .355 hitter against the Indians, his former team. He has five homers, 10 RBIs and 11 runs scored over an 11-game stretch overall.