DETROIT – Miguel Cabrera was intentionally walked in the eighth inning with 2,999 career hits, setting off a loud chorus of boos and derisive chants at Comerica Park as the Detroit Tigers beat the New York Yankees 3-0 Thursday.
Cabrera was 0 for 3 with two strikeouts, forcing him and Detroit fans to wait at least another day for him to hit the 3,000 mark, a milestone just 32 players have reached in Major League Baseball history.
Ahead 1-0, the Tigers loaded the bases with no outs in the eighth against Miguel Castro. Reliever Lucas Luetge got Jeimer Candelario to hit a comebacker that was turned into a double play.
That brought Cabrera to the plate with two outs and runners on second and third. The 39-year-old slugger didn’t make even make it into the batter's box when New York manager Aaron Boone held up four fingers to give Cabrera, a former Marlins teammate, a free pass to the unoccupied base.
Boone said “it's a baseball call all the way."
“Obviously, understanding the moment in time,” he said. “A little more gut-wrenching than usual.”
The 236th intentional walk of Cabrera's career, while strategically sound, triggered perhaps the loudest boos ever heard at a Tigers game since Comerica Park opened in 2000.
Boone said he the crowd reaction wasn't a surprise.
“Of course, certainly understand that,” he said, adding, “you don't necessarily like being in that position."
The crowd of 21,529 quickly turned the jeers into cheers when Austin Meadows blooped a two-run double on a lefty vs. lefty matchup to put Detroit ahead by three.
When the inning ended, Cabrera put out his hands as if to tell that crowd he was OK with how things went. He then put up three fingers and gestured to the scoreboard to indicate the runs his team had scored on a sunny, 60-degree day in the Motor City.
“That’s the beautiful game of baseball,” Cabrera said outside the clubhouse when the game ended.
Michael Pineda (1-0) gave up just three hits over five innings in his Detroit debut against one of his former teams. Jacob Barnes, Wily Peralta, Alex Lange and Gregory Soto, who earned his third save, followed with four innings of scoreless relief.
The Yankees were shut out for the third time this season and their 39 runs are their fewest through 13 games since 1972.
Jordan Montgomery (0-1) became the first Yankee to finish six innings this year. He gave up only one run on three hits while striking out five, but he teammates didn't provide any help offensively.
Robbie Grossman hit an RBI double in the third, scoring Victor Reyes.
New York was limited to four hits over seven innings against three pitchers before Boone put a pair of pinch-hitters in the game in the hopes of providing an offensive spark.
Josh Donaldson hit a double on Lange’s first pitch of the eighth, Gleyber Torres singled on the fourth pitch of the inning and Aaron Judge drew a one-out walk to end right-hander's brief appearance. Soto got the Tigers out of the bases-loaded, one-out jam by getting Anthony Rizzo to hit a comebacker, leading to a force out at home, and Giancarlo Stanton to ground out to first.
Tigers: RHP Matt Manning (shoulder discomfort) went on the 10-day injured list two days after RHP Casey Mize (elbow sprain) last week and he might be ready to throw a bullpen in a few more days. “Manning is ahead of Mize," manager A.J. Hinch said.
Yankees: Plan to start RHP Jameson Taillon (0-1, 3.72) to begin a six-game homestand Friday night.
Tigers: Continue a six-game homestand with LHP Tarik Skubal (0-1, 3.72) expected to face Colorado on Friday night.
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