Miguel Cabrera has been just what the Detroit Tigers expect in the middle of the order. Justin Upton is getting back to the player they hoped would deepen their lineup.
Cabrera had four hits, including his 28th home run, and Upton added a three-run homer as Detroit beat the Minnesota Twins 9-4 on Wednesday night.
Cabrera had his fifth four-hit game of the season and was a triple shy of the cycle. He opened the scoring with a deep blast to straightaway center field in the first inning.
Upton had two hits for the fourth straight game after he didn’t start for three games in a row as Tigers manager Brad Ausmus gave the struggling outfielder a break.
”It lengthens the lineup,” Ausmus said of Upton. ”He’s got power, as you saw tonight. He can hit the ball as far as anyone in the lineup, so it’s good to see him swing the bat. We want to keep him rolling.”
Matt Boyd (5-2) tied his career-high with seven strikeouts in six innings to win his fifth straight decision. Since being recalled to start on July 9, Boyd is 5-0 with a 2.39 ERA.
Upton was in the midst of a 1-for-30 stretch and had seen his average dip to .226 when Ausmus backed off him. Upton is 8 for 16 the past four games, and has three three-run home runs in that span after going 17 straight games without a homer.
”Sometimes that’s needed,” Upton said. ”A mental break and back at it now.”
With Upton back contributing, Detroit has scored 27 runs in the past three games.
Cabrera doubled deep off the right field wall for an RBI to start a five-run third. J.D. Martinez extended his AL-leading hitting streak to 14 games with an RBI single that scored Cabrera. Upton followed with a hard-hit liner off the facing of the second deck in left field for his 16th home run.
Cabrera was awarded a single following a review in the fifth when he hit a ball that was originally ruled foul down the left field line. He added a double in the ninth.
”Man, I’ve been watching that all year, on ESPN for a long time, so it’s no surprise,” Upton said of Cabrera. ”But it’s fun. It’s fun to watch.”
Brian Dozier hit his career-high 30th homer for Minnesota, but starter Tyler Duffey (8-10) allowed six runs in three innings as the Twins lost their sixth straight.
Dozier became the first Twin since Josh Willingham in 2012 to reach the 30-homer plateau, and he leads the majors with 22 home runs since June 25.
”I don’t know if a lot of people projected him to be a 30-home run guy anywhere along the way in his development,” Minnesota manager Paul Molitor said. ”But it’s been incredible to watch him put together a season especially after his slow start.”