Tigers’ slugger Miguel Cabrera picked a big moment for his first extra-base hit of the ALDS.
Cabrera launched a two-run homer off A’s rookie right-hander Sonny Gray in the top of the fourth inning to give the Tigers a 2-0 lead in this decisive Game 5. It followed a one-out single by Torii Hunter and ended an 11-inning scoreless streak for Gray during the series. Cabrera might not be 100 percent right now, but it’s still dangerous to give him a fastball over the middle of the plate. This time, it landed in the left field seats. You can check out the video of the home run below:
Things could have been much worse for the A’s, as Gray loaded the bases after the Cabrera homer, but he was able to wiggle out of the jam by getting Omar Infante to ground out. Still, he’s not long for this game.
While the Tigers have grabbed the early lead against Gray, Justin Verlander is dominating on the mound. He has yet to allow a baserunner over his first three innings of work and has struck out five batters. A’s fans will have to hope that they aren’t witnessing a repeat of Game 5 of ALDS last year.
The Giants placed outfielder Hunter Pence on the 10-day disabled list with a right thumb sprain, per an official announcement on Friday. Pence initially sustained the injury during the club’s home opener on April 3, when he dove to intercept a line drive double from Robinson Cano and jammed his thumb. Weeks of playing through the pain hasn’t worked, so he’ll take a breather while the Giants give outfielder Mac Williamson a chance to start in left after getting called up from Triple-A Fresno.
Pence, 35, wouldn’t pin his recent struggles on his injury, but it’s clear that he’s having difficulty finding his footing this year. He slashed a meager .172/.197/.190 through 61 plate appearances in 2018, collecting just one extra-base hit and two walks during the Giants’ dismal 7-11 stretch. While it’s far too early in the season to make any final judgments, it doesn’t look like the veteran outfielder will be replicating the .275+ average, 4.0+ fWAR totals of years past (at least, not anytime soon).
Williamson, meanwhile, has gotten off to a hot start in Triple-A. Prior to his call-up this weekend, the 27-year-old batted an incredible .487/.600/1.026 with six home runs and a 1.626 OPS through his first 50 PA. A hot Triple-A bat doesn’t always survive the transition to the majors, but the Giants will use all the help they can get — especially as they take on the AL West-leading Angels this weekend.