Cabrera, Cespedes show Cincy their All-Star creds
Seeking starting roles in Midsummer Classic, Tigers sluggers back Anibal's gem
DETROIT -- A pair of Tigers made All-Star statements Monday against the Reds, the team that's playing host to the Midsummer Classic.
Miguel Cabrera and Yoenis Cespedes each cranked a pair of hits, backing Anibal Sanchez, who twirled a masterful two-hitter in a 6-0 shutout of Cincinnati at Comerica Park.
Cabrera isn't going to lobby for All-Star votes for himself. That's not really something he's comfortable doing. He jokingly asked a reporter Sunday if they had voted for him.
"I mean, what am I going to do?" he asked.
On Monday, as updated results showed Cabrera closing the gap on the Royals' Eric Hosmer among AL first basemen, he did what he always does. He kept on making his case with his bat.
In the process, he kept the Tigers rolling.
Both Cabrera and Cespedes, two players with chances at loosening the Royals' grip on the AL All-Star balloting, had two hits, as did J.D. Martinez.
Cespedes, who has made a dynasty out of the All-Star Home Run Derby, fell short of the left-field fence on Tuesday, but his fourth-inning line drive landed over Brennan Boesch's head for a two-out double that became the catalyst for the Tigers' go-ahead rally. He scored on Todd Frazier's errant throw on Martinez's ensuing infield single.
Two innings later, Cabrera provided the hit that broke the game open. His double into the left-field corner scored Anthony Gose and Ian Kinsler following their back-to-back walks.
Cespedes added an RBI single in the seventh.
Both are hitting up a storm just as All-Star voting ramps up. Cabrera improved to 17-for-44 for June with 13 RBIs in 12 games. Cespedes, currently sixth among AL outfielders, extended his hitting streak to nine games and recorded his 25th multihit game of the season, tied for second in the AL. He's batting 19-for-44 this month, all in the cleanup spot to keep the Tigers lineup churning in place of injured Victor Martinez.
The fact that neither is line for an All-Star starting spot, nor are any Tigers, has become an increasingly hot topic around Detroit's clubhouse. Players have been frustrated by the results, but they've been pleading the case for Cabrera and others.
On Friday, Tigers players took the field for batting practice wearing Vote Miggy T-shirts. On Monday, the Tigers sent out an email message from David Price to fans, asking them to vote for Cabrera and the rest of the Tigers on the ballot.
"I know there's still a ways to go," Justin Verlander said earlier Monday. "I hope our fans step up and I hope [other] fans step up. Whoever's deserving needs to go and be starting. That's the bottom line."
Cabrera, without question, deserves to start, as far as the Tigers' clubhouse is concerned.
"I hate to keep picking on Hosmer and Miguel, but that's my teammate," Verlander said. "That's the closest to my heart. There are other arguments to be had."
Said J.D. Martinez: "I don't think it's right. I think there's a lot of guys that deserve to make the team. Look at Cespy, the way he's hit and the way he's performed."
Which is not to say Martinez or other Tigers have anything against Hosmer or other Royals.
"I know Eric is having a great year, and he's one of my really good friends," Martinez said. "In the offseason, we both live in South Florida. But I think it's well-known Miggy is probably one of the, or the, best player in baseball."