DETROIT — Miguel Cabrera can see the milestones ahead now. Literally.
His career home run and hit totals were looming on the concourse at Comerica Park, just behind the left-field seats, as he stepped to the plate. His home run trot left him staring straight at it as he rounded first base, a trip he repeated. His two-homer, three-hit game kept the Tigers personnel busy updating the numbers, while powering the Tigers to their third straight victory with a 6-2 win over the Orioles on Thursday.
Cabrera stands at 497 home runs and 2,939 hits, and has raised his chances to become the first player in MLB history to record his 500th home run and 3,000th hit in the same season. After going 3 1/2 weeks between homers, he has three in the last four days. Both homers Thursday were throwbacks for him, coming on opposite-field swings. They were tape-measure shots like his oppo shots of old, but they were effective.
More than the swing, however, Cabrera had a younger spring in his step Thursday. Instead of grumbling about the attention of individual milestones, he seemingly embraced it. He made a leaping grab on a chopper from former Tigers prospect Domingo Leyba to start a 3-6-3 double play to end the second inning, then went to the ground an inning later to corral Casey Mize’s throw on a Cedric Mullins bunt. Another ball from Mullins sent Cabrera diving to make a stop and throw to Mize covering first, the two hugging on their way back to the dugout at the end of the fifth inning.
Cabrera found the right-field corner in the bottom half, making Alexander Wells the 343rd Major League pitcher to surrender a Miggy home run. The 101.9 mph line drive landed in the tunnel beyond the fence, a Statcast-projected 363-foot shot.
Two innings later, Cabrera sent an Adam Plutko fastball just to the left of that area, a 380-foot drive into the seats on a 3-1 pitch.