We knew this already, though, right?
With a man on in the top of the ninth, Detroit’s Miguel Cabrera took an 0-2 fastball from Matt Capps to dead center for his ninth homer Sunday, giving the Tigers a 4-3 lead they wouldn’t relinquish in a victory over the Twins.
It was the first blown save for Capps in 10 chances this year, so he didn’t really deserve the boos he received from the Target Field crowd. Sometimes you just get beat, and when it’s a talent like Cabrera administering the whipping, you shake your head and move on.
Of course, there’s plenty of lingering resentment in Minnesota over Capps’ 2011 performance. He blew nine saves in just 24 chances last year.
Cabrera’s homer capped a three-RBI day. He second in the AL with 40 RBI even though he hasn’t really gotten hot at any point yet this season. Indeed, his OPS is down about 150 points from where he finished 2010 and ’11.
The Tigers were in position to take the lead because of an outstanding leaping catch made by center fielder Quintin Berry to end the eighth, stranding an insurance run on third. Twins announcer Dick Bremer twice labeled it “one of the best catches you’ll ever see.” And the catch itself was outstanding. On the other hand, his jump off the bat and his route to the ball were anything but. A better center fielder likely would have made the play look a lot easier.
After drubbing the Angels 10-0 on Wednesday, the Athletics stayed hot, scoring 21 runs to once again rout the Angels on Thursday afternoon. Edwin Jackson got the start, yielding two earned runs on three hits and three walks with seven strikeouts over 5 1/3 innings.
The offense started in the bottom of the third inning, when the A’s plated five runs. That featured a two-run double from Matt Chapman and a three-run home run from Stephen Piscotty. In the fourth, the A’s scored seven more on RBI singles from Jed Lowrie, Khris Davis, Matt Olson, and Stephen Piscotty, which were followed up with an RBI double from Ramon Laureano and an RBI single from Marcus Semien. In the sixth, the A’s bolstered their lead to 18-2 when Laureano hit a bases-loaded single, Semien hit a bases-clearing double, Josh Phegley hit an RBI single, and Franklin Barreto knocked in a run with a double play. The following inning, with position player Francisco Arcia pitching, Nick Martini hit a two-run homer and Chad Pinder made it back-to-back jacks with a solo shot of his own, pushing the score to 21-2.
Arcia hit a solo homer for the Angels in the top of the ninth to make it 21-3, then Kaleb Cowart popped out to end the game. It’s the sixth time a team has scored 20-plus runs this season and the first since the Mets won 24-4 over the Phillies on August 16. The other occurrences: Dodgers 21-5 over the Brewers on August 2, Nationals 25-4 over the Mets on July 31, Diamondbacks 20-5 over the Padres on July 7, and Phillies 20-1 over the Marlins on April 7.
Notables in the box score for the A’s: Martini had three hits and three runs scored, Piscotty had four RBI, Semien had three hits and five RBI, and Phegley had three hits with three runs scored.
With Thursday’s win, the A’s cut their deficit to 3.5 games behind the Astros in the AL West. They have a six-game lead over the Rays for the second Wild Card and trail the Yankees by two games for the first Wild Card. Nine games remain in the regular season for the A’s.