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 Tigers signed catcher Josh Thole to a minor league deal, per an announcement from the Double-A Erie SeaWolves on Friday. Thole is expected to report to Double-A Erie, where he’ll split time with starting catcher Jake Rogers.
Thole, 31, has not appeared in a major or minor league game since 2016. He signed a minors deal with the Diamondbacks back in 2017, but was sidelined through most of the season after undergoing hamstring surgery in April. He was released by the team during spring training and failed to catch on with another major league club through the first two months of the 2018 season.
While the veteran backstop hasn’t tested his skills in pro ball for several years now, he held his own during a short-lived run with the independent New Britain Bees of the Atlantic League. Over 17 games in 2018, Thole batted .317/.425/.367 with three extra-base hits and a .791 OPS in 75 plate appearances. He’s expected to serve as catching depth within the Tigers’ organization, but may yet work his way back to the majors if he can get his average back over the Mendoza Line again — a feat he hasn’t managed since 2015.