HOUSTON -- Perhaps the greatest testament to the otherworldly talent of Detroit third baseman Miguel Cabrera
was the relatively unfazed reaction Tigers manager Jim Leyland had to the otherwise spectacular performance Cabrera delivered Saturday night at Minute Maid Park.
With the reigning American League MVP recording RBI in each of his five plate appearances and right-hander Max Scherzer
dominating on the hill, Detroit pounded the Houston Astros
and rolled to a 17-2 win.
Cabrera produced his 26th career multi-homer game and his fifth six-RBI effort, finishing 4 for 4 with two homers and a bases-loaded walk to pace an unrelenting Detroit attack. The Tigers (18-11) pounded out 21 hits in producing their eighth win in nine games and third in a row over the Astros (8-23). Every Detroit starter either scored or drove in a run.
"He's awful good; that's in the books," Leyland said. "Obviously he's a special player, but a lot of guys did well tonight. We had a lot of guys that did some good things tonight.
"It's one of those where you play a game every now and then where you hit it hard (and) it falls in, you hit it soft (and) it falls in. It's one of those games."
While Cabrera was the headliner, his supporting cast was nearly as potent. Right fielder Torii Hunter went 4-for-5 with three runs scored and two RBI batting ahead of Cabrera.
Designated hitter Victor Martinez, hitting two slots behind Cabrera, finished 2-for-6 with four RBI and delivered his first homer, a two-run shot in the ninth inning.
Austin Jackson, Jhonny Peralta, Alex Avila and Omar Infante recorded multi-hit games as Detroit enjoyed production throughout its lineup.
But Cabrera was the linchpin. That fact remains irrefutable.
"I was feeling good out there today," Cabrera said. "I was swinging the bat good. And when you swing the bat good, good things happen."
Said Astros manager Bo Porter: "He seems like he can hit everything."
Scherzer, meanwhile allowed two singles before Houston catcher Carlos Corporan ended his shutout bid with a two-out homer to right field in the seventh. Scherzer (4-0) surrendered one run on three hits and two walks with eight strikeouts in eight innings. The bloated early lead -- the Tigers took an 8-0 advantage in the fifth -- did not impact his approach.
"It doesn't change much in the game when you get run support early in the game because you are still on the attack," Scherzer said. "You have to take it right to them. You can't play the scoreboard that early."
Astros right-hander Lucas Harrell
(3-3) had been on quite the roll, stringing together three consecutive victories while allowing just five earned runs in his four previous outings. But the Tigers were quick to reverse that trend, producing three consecutive hits right out of the box in the first, with Cabrera driving in Jackson with his single to right field.
Martinez added a two-run double to the left-center gap, scoring Cabrera from first base. Peralta chipped in a bloop single to right that capped the four-run first and set the stage for an oddly laborious start for Harrell.
Cabrera added a two-run homer in the second, rifling a first-pitch fastball off the facade behind the Crawford Boxes in left field. In the sixth, Cabrera blasted a solo shot off right-hander Jose Cisnero for his first multi-homer game since Sept. 18 against the Oakland Athletics
Harrell allowed eight runs on 10 hits and four walks before departing with one out in the fifth. That he lasted that long was a minor miracle considering that Detroit hit 8-for-19 with runners in scoring position.
"I'm really not mad about it," Harrell said. "I made some good pitches, in that first inning especially. Cabrera got weak contact with two on and nobody out when we were trying to get a double play. I made some good, quality pitches, but they just made better hits."
NOTES: Tigers left-hander Drew Smyly extended his scoreless-innings streak to 13 with two Friday night and picked up his second victory, tied for the most among American League relievers. His 20 innings pitched rank second and his 21 strikeouts are third among AL relievers. ... Harrell posted a 2.34 ERA at Minute Maid Park last season, which ranked fourth in the National League. His outing against the Tigers was his second this season in which he allowed eight earned runs at home. ... Martinez hit his first home run since Sept. 25, 2011, against the Baltimore Orioles
. He missed the 2012 season following knee surgery.
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