--3B Miguel Cabrera, on the same day he was announced as the AL Player of the Month for August, hit his second two-run home run in as many games Wednesday night against Cleveland. Cabrera drove an 0-1 pitch into the right-field seats one out after CF Austin Jackson opened the first with a single. He hit .357 with eight home runs and 24 RBI in August. Cabrera and SS Alan Trammell (1984 and 1987) are the only two Tigers to win the award multiple times. Now in a virtual tie for the AL batting lead, Cabrera becomes a threat for the first Triple Crown since Carl Yastrzemski of Boston in 1967. "There might be somebody who saw somebody else with as much opposite-field power as him," manager Jim Leyland said, "but I wouldn't believe anybody in the history of the game ever has. Not that I've seen." Cabrera hit a sacrifice fly in the five-run eighth.
--RHP Doug Fister was sharp Wednesday night, allowing Cleveland a run and four hits in seven innings. Fister was rusty in his return Aug. 31 after missing a start due to injury, prompting Leyland to declare, "I expect he'll be sharp next start." Fister gave up three of his four singles in the fourth, when the Indians scored their run off him. His curveball was excellent and he was able to spot his fastball with good tailing action. "He was much sharper," Leyland said, "but I don't think he was razor sharp. I expect next time he will be."
--RHP Joaquin Benoit survived rough control Wednesday night to protect a 2-1 lead. He walked the first batter he faced then went 2-0 on the next before coming back to get a fly-ball out and a double play to finish his eighth inning. He hasn't allowed a run in nine games since Aug. 13, his first game back after giving up two home runs in each of two straight appearances.
--LF Andy Dirks legged out an RBI triple in the eighth inning Wednesday night to give Detroit an insurance run, then he scored on a sacrifice fly by 3B Miguel Cabrera. Just as important to manager Jim Leyland, Dirks grounded out to second on a hit-and-run play after CF Austin Jackson walked to lead off the first. Jackson scored on a home run by Cabrera.
--1B Prince Fielder hit his second opposite-field home run of the season Wednesday night, right in the middle of a five-run eighth that helped Detroit rebound from two straight losses with a 7-1 victory over Cleveland. "I'd only seen him once before this year, in a series we played with Milwaukee," Leyland said, "but he's a much better hitter than I thought he was. He's done a good job for us this year." Fielder's defense has picked up from where it was early in the season, too, and was illustrated when he fielded a ground ball and fired a rocket to second to start a 3-6-3 double play that ended the sixth inning.
--RF Avisail Garcia is a very talented young player, and he has shown that in limited exposure to major-league pitching this month. Garcia was a defensive replacement in right field in the eighth inning, then came up in the bottom of the inning and beat out a topped grounder to third. Garcia showed excellent speed scoring from first on a two-run double down the third-base line by SS Jhonny Peralta.
--DH/LF Delmon Young didn't ask out of the lineup Tuesday against Cleveland, Leyland said, but was not a starter because it was a common-sense and mutual decision. Using Fielder as the designated hitter against Cleveland's Justin Masterson was coincident with saving Young from having to face a pitcher against whom he was 3-for-20 over his career. And it was made a week ago when Detroit was dropping three games at Kansas City, Leyland said. "If you're going to give him a blow," Leyland said, "that's when you're going to do it. My decision was who was going to play, and it was a mutual decision. Let's not be looking for garbage here." Leyland also didn't want to take a chance on the red-hot Young messing up his timing against a pitcher against whom he had not been successful. Young was back in the lineup Wednesday.
--CF Austin Jackson and Young were the notable absences Wednesday when the Tigers took their 2012 team picture. Jackson was late by minutes and Young showed up grinning after the players were coming back into the clubhouse. It's possible they will still be in the finished product through the magic of computers.
BY THE NUMBERS
3 -- Years the Tigers have exceeded 3 million in home attendance following the Wednesday announcement Detroit had enough advance sales for the rest of the season to guarantee at least 744 above that figure this year. The Tigers previously drew more than 3 million in 2007 and 2008.
QUOTE TO NOTE
"There might be somebody who saw somebody else with as much opposite-field power as him, but I wouldn't believe anybody in the history of the game ever has. Not that I've seen." -- Manager Jim Leyland commenting on 3B Miguel Cabrera after he had blasted a two-run first-inning home run to right to stake Detroit to a 2-0 lead.
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