Cabrera sets Venezuelan career run record

Miggy also ties career high with 6 RBIs in 2-HR game

September 24th, 2020

slugged his way to another career milestone Wednesday. By the time he was done, he nearly slugged the Tigers to a comeback against the Twins, tying his career high with six RBIs in a two-homer game in Detroit’s 7-6 loss.

On a night when the Tigers had youth all through their lineup, it was a throwback outing to the prime days of Cabrera, who enjoyed his first six-RBI game since 2013 and the sixth of his career.

“It's been a frustrating year for him in a lot of ways, but it was really good to see Miggy get through the zone the way he got through it tonight,” interim manager Lloyd McClendon said. “It was good to see him get out there and get that bat speed going, and obviously to hit two mammoth home runs tonight.”

Cabrera became MLB’s all-time leader in runs scored among Venezuelan-born players Wednesday with his 485th career home run, a tape-measure drive to left at Target Field off Twins ace Kenta Maeda in the sixth inning.

Cabrera’s 438-foot drive was his longest home run since July 4, 2019, according to Statcast. With an exit velocity of 110.3 mph, it was also his hardest-hit homer this year -- and his second-hardest hit of any type this season.

Cabrera’s 1,454th run scored on the homer pushed him past Bobby Abreu for the lead among Venezuelan-born Major Leaguers. He already leads his countrymen in home runs and RBIs, and he’s just 17 base hits away from tying Omar Vizquel’s mark in that category.

Cabrera also became the seventh Tiger to record 1,200 RBIs with the club, joining Ty Cobb, Al Kaline, Harry Heilmann, Charlie Gehringer, Sam Crawford and Hank Greenberg -- all Hall of Famers.

Cabrera will eventually join those greats in Cooperstown after he’s done playing, but he wasn’t even done hitting Wednesday. With two more runners on base in the ninth inning, he took a slider from Twins reliever Sergio Romo deep for a 413-foot drive to the second deck in left field, bringing Detroit within a run.

“It was very impressive,” rookie third baseman said through translator Carlos Guillen. “We know what kind of hitter he is, and I’m really happy that I was able to be on base when he hit the homers. Happy for him, and also happy for him to help us get closer on the scoreboard.”

The last time Cabrera drove in six runs in a game was May 4, 2013, when he hit two homers against the Astros in Houston. One of them was off an Astros rookie reliever named , now Cabrera’s teammate in Detroit. His 41st career multi-homer game ranks 30th in Major League history.

Cabrera also became the fourth Major Leaguer to hit two three-run homers in a game this year, joining White Sox slugger Jose Abreu, the Yankees’ Luke Voit and Miami’s Brian Anderson. He’s the first Tiger to do it since Justin Upton on Aug. 21, 2016, against the Red Sox.

Cabrera is eight homers shy of tying Lou Gehrig and Fred McGriff for 28th on MLB’s all-time list. Eight of his home runs have come in 54 games this season, including three in his last three games.

McClendon has been around for much of Cabrera’s tenure with Detroit. He was his hitting coach from his arrival in 2008 through ‘13 under manager Jim Leyland, and again from ‘17 to ‘19 before becoming bench coach this year. When Ron Gardenhire retired last weekend, McClendon became Cabrera’s manager for the first time.

“Over the years, I've been very fortunate to have the opportunity to play with and to coach and even manage some of the greatest hitters that ever played this game. And I think Miggy fits right up there at the top with all of them,” McClendon said. “This guy's special, and he's not done. He's rebounding off of a tough knee injury, an ankle injury. He's in the best shape of his life. This has been a very stressful, tough year in a lot of ways, but I look forward to Miggy getting a full Spring Training and coming back even stronger and better next year.”