Cabrera leaves game, but Tigers still roll

The SportsXchange

DETROIT -- Miguel Cabrera can't stay on the field. The Detroit Tigers might have enough of a cushion to finally let him rest for a while.

Cabrera had to exit early for the second straight game with abdominal pain, but the Tigers still extended their American League Central lead to 7 1/2 games with a 7-2 rain-shortened victory over the second-place Cleveland Indians on Friday night at Comerica Park.

The game was called after seven innings following a one-hour, nine-minute rain delay.

Cabrera left after the second inning. He exited Thursday's game against Oakland in the fifth after getting thrown out at second base. He has been battling abdominal, hip and groin injuries in recent weeks.

Manager Jim Leyland almost pulled Cabrera, who struck out in his only plate appearance, after batting practice.

"We started him, but I could tell he wasn't right. He was hurting," Leyland said. "He wasn't swinging normal. I could tell that he was not really turning it loose. When he came in, he was in pretty good spirits, and I know he wanted to play, but I was a little suspicious in talking to him. When I saw the first at-bat, I knew what I was seeing in BP was probably right. So we got him out of there."

Cabrera's mobility has been the biggest issue, as he can barely jog around the bases. It may be time to shut him down to let the injuries heal. He won't be in the lineup on Saturday.

"You want to play and stay on the field," he said. "You come to the field to try to play every day. (Leyland) said he's not taking any more chances. Hopefully, I get better, hopefully I can come back 100 percent. That's our goal right now."

That goal would come at the expense of his pursuit for consecutive Triple Crowns. He leads the majors in RBIs (130) and batting average (.358) and is second to Baltimore's Chris Davis in home runs (43).

Cabrera would rather be healthy for the postseason than make individual history.

"That's an individual part," he said of the Triple Crown chase. "You've got to think about how we're going to get better as a team, how we can get better in the stretch run. You have to think about what's better for the Detroit Tigers. You don't have to be selfish and say you're not going on the DL because you want to do something special. It's not part of my game."

Victor Martinez's hot bat would be even more valuable if Cabrera needs an extended break. Martinez doubled twice and drove in two runs, raising his season average to .299. He has an American League-high 84 hits since July 1.

That's a big reason why the Tigers are 14-3 this season against their closest division rival.

"We're all aware of what our record is (against Detroit), but I don't think we ever go into a game thinking we're not going to win," said Cleveland manager Terry Francona, whose team has lost four straight. "There's a reason they beat us -- because they're good."

Michael Bourn's inability to find a Martinez fly ball helped the Tigers score four third-inning runs and take a 5-1 lead against Indians starter Zach McAllister (7-8). Austin Jackson's RBI single had already given Detroit a 2-1 lead before Martinez hit a long fly to center with the bases loaded and one out. Bourn moved to his left and spread out his arms helplessly as the ball landed well over his head near the warning track.

That allowed two runs to score and the Tigers added another on Alex Avila's groundout.

"He's so conscientious. He just never saw it," Francona said of Bourn. "You could tell. Sometimes, you'll see the ball go up and you'll lose it at that time of night. He never saw it, never got a beat on it."

Detroit's Rick Porcello (11-7) gave up two runs in 5 2/3 innings despite battling flu-like symptoms for his seventh win in his last eight decisions. Bruce Rondon collected his first career save and Andy Dirks added two hits and scored twice for Detroit.

NOTES: The Indians are 1-for-25 with runners in scoring position during the losing streak. ... Detroit's four-run, ninth-inning rally for a 7-6 victory over the A's on Thursday was just the third time in major-league history a team had a two-out walkoff homer to prevent a series sweep of four or more games. Torii Hunter's three-run homer completed the comeback. "That will go down as one of my favorite wins of all time," Leyland said. ... Cleveland acquired OF Jason Kubel from Arizona for a player to be named. Kubel, 31, was hitting just .220 with five home runs and 32 RBIs after hitting 30 homers for the Diamondbacks last season.
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