DETROIT – Max Scherzer was roughed up, and Miguel Cabrera left with an injury. It made for a quiet scene in the ninth inning at a mostly empty Comerica Park.
Then Torii Hunter turned it around with one big swing for the Detroit Tigers.
Hunter hit a three-run homer with two outs in the ninth, lifting Detroit to a 7-6 win over the Oakland Athletics on Thursday that averted a four-game series sweep.
The celebration continued after the Tigers’ biggest comeback victory, with Cabrera vowing he would be in the lineup today when the AL Central leaders begin a three-game series with the second-place Cleveland Indians.
Cabrera departed in the fifth inning after hurting his abdomen while making an awkward slide trying to stretch a single into a double. But he insisted he would be able to play in Detroit’s next game.
I’m OK, he said. I’ll play – don’t worry.
The reigning Triple Crown winner and MVP limped off the field after aggravating a strain in his groin, abdominal and hip area that has bothered him for much of the month. He got two hits before the injury, increasing his major league-leading batting average to .359. He leads baseball with 130 RBI, and his 43 homers trail only Baltimore’s Chris Davis.
Every time something like that happens, we all get scared, Tigers catcher Brayan Pena said. But then when we see him smiling and stuff like that after the game, everybody starts breathing again.
The Tigers scored four times in the ninth against Grant Balfour (0-3). A two-out walk set up Victor Martinez’s RBI single, then Hunter hit his 16th homer.
Scherzer gave up six runs in five innings, ending up with a no-decision instead of a loss.
He still can go 20-1, Hunter said. He was jumping up and down when I came upstairs. He hugged me so tight I couldn’t breathe. I’m pretty sure he’s excited.
Scherzer’s bid to become the first pitcher with 20 wins this season didn’t look good at the start.
I probably should’ve taken a loss, he said. Torii bailed me out.
The bullpen did, too. Luke Putkonen pitched two innings of scoreless relief, Jose Veras was perfect in the eighth and Joaquin Benoit (4-0) gave up two hits in the ninth for the win.