Miguel Cabrera hit his 43rd home run of the season as the Detroit Tigers defeated the Minnesota Twins 6-4 Saturday afternoon taking another big step in securing the AL Central title.
Cabrera also took another big step in his quest for the Triple Crown.
With his 43rd home run this afternoon, Cabrera moved into a tie with Texas’ Josh Hamilton for the AL lead. Currently Cabrera leads in RBIs (136) and batting average (.327) the other two statistical categories that help determine the Triple Crown.
Tigers ace Justin Verlander had another Verlander-like outing going seven innings allowing one run on just four hits while striking out eight and walking two. But like some of Verlander’s more recent outings pitch count became an issue as he left the game with 117 in the seventh inning.
And despite the late lead for the Tigers, the Twins didn’t give up and managed to make things interesting.
After a throwing error by Jhonny Peralta which Denard Span took second on, Justin Verlander was lifted in favor of Joaquin Benoit.
Benoit’s struggles however continued.
After inducing Ben Revere into a ground out, Benoit walked Mauer and Morneau before serving up a Grand Slam to Ryan Doumit as the Twins cut the Tigers’ lead down to two, 6-4.
In the 9th though Jose Valverde was able to shut things down earning his 33rd save of the season a vital Tigers victory.
In addition to Cabrera, Prince Fielder also hit his 29th home run of the season in the second inning while Andy Dirks added his 8th home run in the 8th inning.
With the win the Tigers now have a magic number of three. A Tigers victory Sunday coupled with a White Sox loss and the worst that could happen for Detroit in the regular season is a game 163 Thursday. With that said the Tigers could have everything wrapped up Monday when they begin their final series of the regular season in Kansas City.
h/t: Associated Press