The numbers were certainly in Miguel Cabrera’s favor as he stepped to the plate with the bases loaded in the seventh inning on Friday night. The momentum, too.
Six pitches into the at-bat against fellow veteran Greg Holland, the Tigers had their answer: Cabrera’s 405-foot grand slam dropped neatly into the left-field fountain area and put Detroit ahead for good during a 7-5 win over the Royals in the series opener.
The knock silenced Kauffman Stadium, marked Cabrera’s sixth career slam and slapped an exclamation point on the future Hall of Famer’s first three-hit game of the season.
Cabrera entered the night with a .198 average after battling a left biceps strain early in the season and then to get his timing back upon his return. Friday was a big step in the right direction, as he also collected a solo home run in the second and a single in the sixth.
He now has 2,887 career hits, moving him into sole possession of 41st place on MLB’s all-time list. Career homers Nos. 490 and 491 kept Cabrera climbing that career list as well, and he sits two round-trippers shy of tying Fred McGriff and Hall of Famer Lou Gehrig for 28th on that list.
The biggest intangible from Cabrera’s breakout night might have been the sight of the ear-to-ear grin in the dugout that has been prominent for much of his career. The Tigers certainly fed off its return as much as the reason behind it, because, well, when Miggy has fun, everybody has fun.