When the Detroit Tigers last came to Baltimore in May, right fielder Torii Hunter left firmly ensconced as the chief villain in road grays. Miguel Cabrera, the two-time reigning American League MVP, took up that mantel during the ALDS.
Cabrera, the reigning two-time American League Most Valuable Player, had a hand in nearly every play — good and bad — on either team’s ledger Friday, as his Tigers fell 7-6 with another eighth-inning bullpen implosion.
The 2012 Triple Crown winner, who homered in the eighth inning of Game 1 and took his time rounding the bases, opened the Tigers’ attack with a two-out single in the first inning Friday. Two innings later, Cabrera doubled off the base of the center-field wall, then scored two batters later when left fielder J.D. Martinez homered to left in the Tigers’ five-run third.
After he crossed the plate, Cabrera appeared to have words for the Orioles fans, and when they noticed and heartily booed him, the first baseman pointed to a stronghold of Tigers friends and family members.
An inning later, Cabrera rolled into a sensationally turned double play to third baseman Ryan Flaherty and was slow walking across the infield back to his dugout from first base. That, too, drew angry jeers from the sellout crowd of 48,058 at Camden Yards.
Cabrera came up with Hunter on first for the third straight time in the eighth inning against Kevin Gausman, and the reception was more subdued. He smoked a high first-pitch fastball into the shortstop hole for his third hit of the day. The crowd was silent, until Cabrera made a move that contributed to a second straight Tigers loss.
He tried to follow Torii Hunter home on the Victor Martinez’ deep double to right-center, but was gunned down on a strong relay throw.
The Tigers could have had two men in scoring position with nobody out against the Orioles bullpen. Instead, they only got the one run in the eighth, and the Orioles stormed back for four runs in the eighth to win by one.