DETROIT -- Jose Cabrera hit a long-awaited and much-needed home run on Thursday night to lift Detroit to a 5-3 win over Tampa Bay. In the bottom of the ninth, on a 2-1 count, Cabrera smacked a two-run homer to right field for the Tigers' second walk-off win of the
DETROIT -- Jose Cabrera hit a long-awaited and much-needed home run on Thursday night to lift Detroit to a 5-3 win over Tampa Bay. In the bottom of the ninth, on a 2-1 count, Cabrera smacked a two-run homer to right field for the Tigers' second walk-off win of the season. It was Cabrera's sixth home run of the year and first since May 20.
"It was huge for us and big for him, you know, to kind of get off the schneid," Tigers manager Brad Ausmus said. "He should be happy about it. It was a good day."
Alex Avila got the rally started with a one-out single, his first hit of the game after striking out three times in the first four innings. Then Cabrera clubbed his seventh career walk-off and fifth extra-base hit in the past three games to give Detroit the win.
Like the crowd, Cabrera had to make sure the ball cleared the outstretched glove of Steven Souza Jr. before celebrating.
"It felt good, but the way this is going right now, I was not sure," Cabrera said.
Tigers starter Justin Verlander followed up a five-inning, 108-pitch outing in Boston on Sunday with a more efficient seven innings on 111 pitches. He dealt five walks, giving him an American League-high 42 for the season. Despite allowing traffic on the basepaths, with 11 runners total, only three passed second. Verlander also held Tampa Bay hitless in seven chances with runners in scoring position.
"Kept us in the ballgame," Verlander said. "Obviously, we didn't score a bunch of runs, so you kind of have that feeling where it's going to be a close ballgame, so keep your guys in it and hopefully we can scratch across a couple runs late and win, which we were obviously able to do."
In his 100th career start with the Rays, Alex Cobb scattered eight hits for his second straight quality start after allowing nine runs on June 3 against Seattle. Despite two errors made behind him, Cobb limited the damage to three runs (two earned).
Cobb was disappointed by the outcome of the game but thought he pitched pretty well.
"I would have felt pretty good regardless, just because I took a big step personally on the mound with some mechanics and the way the ball felt coming out," Cobb said.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
No more second chances: When Daniel Robertson made his first error of the game, on a ground ball with two outs in the third, he immediately redeemed himself with a putout on the next pitch. But with two outs in the seventh, Victor Martinez hit a grounder that skipped past Robertson's glove for his second error of the game. That one proved costly, as it allowed Ian Kinsler to score a go-ahead run.
"The one in the seventh, Martinez hits a little chopper and I tried to come around on it, and I just lose my footing and slip," Robertson said. "There's no excuses. Obviously, I've got to deal with it and overcome it and just try to get back out there tomorrow and make some more plays. I don't know what to say. I think it is uncharacteristic. I just lost my footing." More >
Verlander escapes: A single by Colby Rasmus to lead off the fourth, followed by a walk to Robertson, put two on and none out for the Rays in a 2-2 game. But Verlander quashed the threat in a hurry, getting Michael Martinez to strike out looking on a curveball and inducing Jesus Sucre to ground into a double play.
"It's never fun when your fans boo you. But K-Rod's a guy to look in the mirror and blame himself and say, 'If I pitch better, they won't boo me. They'll cheer for me.' That won't affect him." -- Ausmus, on Tigers fans booing reliever Francisco Rodriguez after he allowed Souza's game-tying home run in the eighth inning
"It makes me eager to get back out there and make a ... Top 10 play, because that's what I take pride in. I take pride in my defense and take pride in helping my pitchers out, and it's just unfortunate it didn't happen tonight." -- Robertson, on moving forward after his two-error night
AILING V-MART EXITS
Ausmus said that designated hitter Victor Martinez was not replaced by pinch-runner Dixon Machado in the seventh inning to boost the team's speed on the bases. Martinez left the game because he was experiencing cold sweats, dizziness and an accelerated heartbeat. A team doctor checked on Martinez, and there isn't a "high level of concern," although he'll be re-evaluated on Friday.
Rays:Erasmo Ramirez (3-1, 4.20 ERA) takes the mound at 7:10 p.m. ET on Friday at Comerica Park for his sixth start since transitioning from the bullpen, and seventh overall. He made a spot start back in April against the Tigers and earned the win, allowing one run on two hits over five innings.
Tigers:Daniel Norris (3-4, 4.41 ERA) will pitch the second game of the four-game series on Friday night. Norris allowed five runs (four earned) in 4 2/3 innings in a loss to the Rays on April 20.
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Jordan Horrobin is a reporter for MLB.com based in Detroit.
Kyle Beery is a contributor to MLB.com based in Detroit and covered the Rays on Thursday.