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Tigers' Miguel Cabrera hits 500th career home run, becoming 28th player in exclusive club

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Detroit Tigers slugger Miguel Cabrera became the 28th member of Major League Baseball's 500-homer club Sunday, hitting an opposite-field blast off Steven Matz of the Toronto Blue Jays for the milestone home run.

Cabrera hit a 1-1 changeup from the Jays left-hander in the top of the sixth inning in Toronto that just cleared the fence in right-center field. The home run ended an eight-game homerless streak for the 11-time All-Star after he connected for No. 499 in Baltimore on August 11.

"There was a lot going through my mind. I wanted to do it in Detroit. But it's tough to hit home runs there," Cabrera said after the game. "I just have to thank God I hit it here and got it over with. Now I can try to keep playing baseball."

Even the opposing fans in Toronto recognized the significance of the moment, encouraging Cabrera to come out of the dugout for a curtain call after he finished circling the bases.

The historic home run ball landed in the Tigers bullpen, where bullpen catcher Tim Remes retrieved it and returned it to Cabrera.

"To see what Miguel is doing, night in and night out, chasing milestones and delivering special moments for not only all of our wondering Tiger fans but also his teammates, has been just incredible," Christopher Ilitch, who succeeded his late father, Mike Ilitch, as Detroit's team owner, said. "I think everybody is excited about it. It's brought a level of respect for the tradition of the game and what Miguel has done to put his place in history in this sport."

Next up in 27th place on the all-time list is Hall of Famer Eddie Murray, who slugged 504 home runs in his career. Albert Pujols, with 677, is the only active MLB player with more homers.

The last player to reach 500 home runs was Boston Red Sox slugger David Ortiz, who accomplished the feat Sept. 12, 2015.

Cabrera has hit 362 of his 500 career homers during his 14 seasons as a member of the Tigers, after they acquired him in a trade before the 2008 season.

Miguel Cabrera rounds the bases  after hitting his 500th career home run in the sixth inning of Sunday's game against the Toronto Blue Jays at Rogers Centre
Miguel Cabrera rounds the bases after hitting his 500th career home run in the sixth inning of Sunday's game against the Toronto Blue Jays at Rogers Centre

Now 38, Cabrera debuted as a 20-year-old for the then-Florida Marlins in 2003 and quickly became one of the league's most feared sluggers. From 2004-16, Cabrera hit .323 with a .968 OPS, averaging 33 home runs and 115 RBI. He won the AL MVP award in 2012 and 2013 and became the first hitter in 45 years to win the Triple Crown (2012).

Next up for Cabrera? 3,000 hits. Only six players in history have 500 career home runs and 3,000 career hits and he has an outside chance to reach the mark before the end of the season. Cabrera's home run was his 2,955th career hit, leaving him 45 short of the milestone.

Cabrera is signed with the Tigers through 2023.

Contributing: Evan Petzold, The Detroit Free Press

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Miguel Cabrera hits 500th home run: Tigers slugger joins the club