DETROIT -- Jose Cabrera tends to hit especially well on his birthday. The Tigers slugger celebrated turning 35 on Wednesday with his 464th career home run, a sixth-inning solo homer and a 6-5 win over the Orioles at Comerica Park.That's enough of a gift for him."I'm good now," Cabrera said
DETROIT -- Jose Cabrera tends to hit especially well on his birthday. The Tigers slugger celebrated turning 35 on Wednesday with his 464th career home run, a sixth-inning solo homer and a 6-5 win over the Orioles at Comerica Park.
That's enough of a gift for him.
"I'm good now," Cabrera said after the game.
Cabrera also got a leg up in his back-and-forth race with Adrian Beltre on the all-time Major League home run list, moving out of a tie for 35th place. Cabrera's next home run will tie him with Dave Winfield for the next spot on the list.
Cabrera left Tuesday's game as a precaution with lower back tightness, but he was in good health and spirits as he entered the clubhouse Wednesday morning. Teammates serenaded him on his birthday, while manager Ron Gardenhire made sure Cabrera was good to play.
"I asked the manager to take me out because my back started getting tight," Cabrera said. "I got back spasms last year when we played in Minnesota and my back was tight, and then I hurt my groin. So I don't want to do that this year. I want to be with the team 162 games. I want to be out there trying to do my best."
Cabrera entered the day 19-for-50 with five doubles, two homers and nine RBIs on his birthday, recording a hit in 11 of the past 12 years when the Tigers have played on April 18. He opened Wednesday's game with a double to the left-field wall off O's starter Kevin Gausman, tying Cabrera with Chipper Jones for 29th on the all-time Major League doubles list with 549.
After grounding out in the third inning, Cabrera came up leading off the sixth and cleared the left-field wall. The line drive left his bat at just a 19-degree angle, but the ball had a 109.9-mph exit velocity for his second home run of the year, breaking a 1-1 tie.
Even Cabrera wasn't sure if the ball was headed out.
"If we were playing in Baltimore, I'd say, 'Yes,'" Cabrera said. "Here, you never know. It was kind of a line-drive type ball. I was not sure if it was going to be out. I was thinking in my mind, 'You've gotta get a double right here. You have to get to second.'"
That home run put the Tigers on top until the eighth inning, when the two sides began trading rallies off each other's bullpens. Cabrera was due up fourth in the ninth if Detroit could get a runner on base, but Dixon Machado's home run leading off the frame took care of matters while Cabrera was getting ready in the clubhouse.
"I was here inside the clubhouse looking for the coffee, because it started getting a little bit more cold," Cabrera said. "But when I got the first coffee drink, I see Machado hit a home run and I was like jumping here in the clubhouse. Victor [Martinez] looked at me and said, 'What are we going to do?' I said, 'Now we have to wait here.' It was an exciting moment and I'm happy we won this game."
Jason Beck has covered the Tigers for MLB.com since 2002. Read Beck's Blog, follow him on Twitter @beckjason and Facebook.