DETROIT – Miguel Cabrera had three hits to move one shy of 3,000 in the Detroit Tigers' 5-3 loss to the New York Yankees on Wednesday night at chilly Comerica Park.
Cabrera beat out an infield hit in the second inning and singled up the middle in the fourth against Luis Severino, then grounded a broken-bat single through the shortstop hole in the sixth off Chad Green (1-1).
“I got really lucky on a couple of those hits and we lost the game, so I'm not too excited right now,” he said. “This game is hard.”
The crowd, announced at 17,268, rose to its feet as soon as the Yankees made the third out of the eighth. With the fans falling eerily silent every time Clay Holmes went into his windup, Cabrera struck out on a 1-2 sinker.
“It was kind of like almost eerie,” Yankees manager Aaron Boone said. “I’m glad he didn’t get it in that spot.”
Cabrera said he wasn't imagining the scene if he had gotten No. 3,000.
“I was thinking about having to face a guy who throws 97-98 mph sinkers,” he said. “I was leading off the inning, we were losing the game, and I needed to get on base. I didn't do that.”
Cabrera, now 39, is an 11-time All-Star. four-time batting champion, two-time MVP and Triple Crown winner.
“Everyone knows what kind of career Miggy has had and everything he has accomplished, but he's just the same guy every day,” Tigers manager A.J. Hinch said. “Going back to last year, when he got close to 500 (home runs), he has handled this with class, dignity and every other word you can think to use.”
His next chance for 3,000 will be Thursday against Yankees left-hander Jordan Montgomery.
“I love Miggy and I had the great fortune to play with him,” Boone said. “He means a lot to me, and he’s going to get it soon, but if it is against us, I hope it doesn’t hurt us too much.”
Green (1-1) allowed Harold Castro's two-run double in the sixth that tied the score 3-3, but Josh Donaldson walked against Drew Hutchison (0-1) leading off the seventh, and pinch-runner Tim Locastro reached third when Gleyber Torres sacrificed and Hutchison threw the ball wildly past second for an error. Isiah Kiner-Falefa lined the next pitch to center for a 4-3 lead.
“We've taken pride in playing clean baseball over the last year, but that's gotten away from us a few times this season,” Hinch said.
DJ LeMahieu hit into a run-scoring forceout in the eighth as Anthony Rizzo beat first baseman Spencer Torkelson's throw home, and Aroldis Chapman pitched around pinch-hitter Willi Castro's leadff single in the ninth for his third save.
Rizzo hit his fourth homer, doubled, drove in two runs and stole a base on a night that felt colder than the game time temperature of 50 degrees would have appeared to be.
“I was just trying to relax,” Rizzo said. “When it is this cold and you are doing everything you can to keep warm, you need to stay relaxed and not think about the weather.”
Severino allowed one run and seven hits in five innings, escaping a bases-loaded, one-out jam in the fourth when Castro lined out to shortstop and Tucker Barnhart struck out.
Tigers starter Eduardo Rodriguez gave up three runs and four hits in six innings.
“I wanted to get deeper into the game, because we used (eight) pitchers yesterday, but the third inning got away from me a little,” he said. “I'm glad I got through six, because we needed it, but I would have liked to pitch a better game.”
Victor Reyes had a run-scoring single in the second inning, when Cabrera was thrown out going for third on the hit. Reyes was then caught stealing.
Aaron Judge hit an RBI double in the third and Rizzo followed with an RBI groundout. Rizzo's sixth-inning homer boosted the lead to 3-1.
Yankees: OF Joey Gallo was out of the lineup for the second time in three games. “I'm not playing well enough to be in the starting lineup every day,” said Gallo, who is hitting .121 with no homers and no RBIs. He entered the game as a defensive replacement but did not bat.
Tigers: RHP Matt Manning (shoulder discomfort) was placed on the 10-day injured list due to the Tigers needing reinforcements after using eight pitchers on Tuesday. RHP Ángel De Jesús was recalled from Triple-A Toledo for his first major league stint.
The Tigers optioned OF Daz Cameron to Toledo to open a roster spot for RHP Michael Pineda, who will be Thursday's starting pitcher.
The teams finish their three-game series on Thursday afternoon. LHP Jordan Montgomery (0-0, 3.24) starts for the Yankees and Pineda makes his Tigers debut against one of his former teams.
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