DETROIT (AP) — Miguel Cabrera hit a tiebreaking three-run homer in the fifth inning. moments before the game was halted for good, and the Detroit Tigers came away with a rain-shortened 6-3 victory over the Cleveland Indians on Wednesday night, keeping pace with Baltimore in the AL wild-card race.
Detroit trails the Orioles by one game for the AL’s second wild card, and the Tigers certainly caught a break in this one. The rain was a factor throughout the evening — there was also a delay during the third inning — and it was certainly coming down when Detroit began its rally in the fifth.
With two on and one out, Cabrera hit a line drive over the wall in right off Joseph Colon (1-3) for his 36th homer.
Blaine Hardy (1-0) won in relief of Michael Fulmer, who lasted only 3 1/3 innings on the wet night.
There was actually a cheer from the crowd when the grounds crew emerged to put the tarp on the field at the end of the fifth. That delay lasted 72 minutes before the game was called. The third-inning stoppage was 45 minutes.
Before the game, it looked like a mid-game delay would likely hurt the Tigers, who were hoping for a big night from Fulmer. Cleveland was starting Zach McAllister, who has pitched almost exclusively in relief this year, so the Indians figured to be using their bullpen quite a bit anyway.
But both times the game was stopped, Detroit seemed to benefit. The Tigers trailed 1-0 when the game was delayed in the third. When it resumed, James McCann and Jose Iglesias hit consecutive doubles off reliever Cody Anderson, and Ian Kinsler followed with a two-run homer to put Detroit up 3-1.
Fulmer, who needed to last 6 1/3 innings to qualify for the ERA title, came back after the delay and took the mound in the fourth. He pitched to only three more batters before being lifted after an RBI single by Rajai Davis. Carlos Santana hit an RBI single later that inning to tie it. His ERA rose to 3.06.
In the Detroit fifth, Iglesias led off with a line drive to right, which Lonnie Chisenhall misplayed for a single. He appeared to have trouble with either the lights or the rain. One out later, Cameron Maybin singled, bringing Cabrera up with two on.
Tigers: 3B Nick Castellanos, who returned Tuesday night from a left hand injury, was in the starting lineup Wednesday and was 0 for 1.
Indians: Cleveland sends LHP Ryan Merritt (0-0) to the mound for his first major league start in the series finale Thursday at Detroit.
Tigers: Detroit starts LHP Daniel Norris (3-2).