DETROIT -- Justin Upton and Ian Kinsler had a friendly competition going earlier this season over who would reach 200 career home runs first. Ian Kinsler won the race July 3.On Monday, it was Upton's turn during a 1-0 win over the Twins."Ian's been wearing me out about it," Upton
DETROIT -- Justin Upton and Ian Kinsler had a friendly competition going earlier this season over who would reach 200 career home runs first. Ian Kinsler won the race July 3.
On Monday, it was Upton's turn during a 1-0 win over the Twins.
"Ian's been wearing me out about it," Upton said.
Considering Upton's milestone accounted for the only run in the Tigers' victory, which was Detroit's first 1-0 win since May 26 of last year, it was good timing on his part.
"I never wish that we were only going to score one run," Upton said, "but it ended up being a big one, which is cool."
On a night when Minnesota starter Ricky Nolasco kept Tigers hitters befuddled with sliders and curveballs, Upton made him pay for one of the relatively few fastballs he threw all night. He had seen sliders the entire second-inning at-bat, fouling off one of them to fall behind in the count. Nolasco tried to speed up his bat and paid for it.
"I just tried to stay with approach back through the middle," Upton said. "I saw it pretty good and was able to turn on it."
From contact, there was no doubt he hit it deep enough down the left-field line. Statcast™ estimated the drive landed 419 feet away from home plate, putting it well into the seats behind the Tigers' bullpen. The only question was whether it would stay fair.
"The umpire told me it was a couple feet fair," Upton said. "But yeah, I knew I had gotten it."
With that, Upton became the 10th current Major Leaguer to hit the 200-homer mark by the end of his age-28 season. The group includes Miguel Cabrera, Adrián Beltré, Ryan Braun, Jay Bruce, Prince Fielder, Albert Pujols, Alex Rodriguez, Giancarlo Stanton and Mark Teixeira.
"It doesn't feel any different," Upton said. "It's definitely cool to reach that milestone, but I hope that's not the last milestone I reach."
Jason Beck has covered the Tigers for MLB.com since 2002. Read Beck's Blog, follow him on Twitter @beckjason and listen to his podcast.