DETROIT — For about five seconds, fans at Comerica Park thought they might be watching Miguel Cabrera hit a go-ahead grand slam for his 498th career home run. So, seemingly, did Cabrera, who raised his hands and looked to the heavens as Cedric Mullins tracked down the ball in front of the center-field fence.
Both the Tigers and Cabrera fell just short Friday in a 4-3 loss to the Orioles, but they provided plenty of drama. Cabrera’s 422-foot sacrifice fly followed a 399-foot double earlier in a two-hit game. While his home run total remained at 497, his hit count jumped to 2,941. The reactions of the 18,861 in attendance made it clear that Miggy’s chase for history is the center of attention as the Tigers head towards the final two months of the season.
Cabrera received a loud ovation every time he stepped to the plate after his two-homer game Thursday spurred a bump in ticket sales. He had two of Detroit’s six hits Friday off O’s starter Matt Harvey, whose 6 1/3 scoreless innings played a big role in ending the Tigers’ 10-game home winning streak. Three solo homers off Tigers rookie starter Tarik Skubal built the bulk of Baltimore’s 4-0 lead.
The Tigers rallied in the eighth with just two hits, starting with a Derek Hill gapper to left-center that he turned into a leadoff triple with his speed around second base. He scored on a wild pitch before Akil Baddoo outran reliever Paul Fry to first base for an infield single. After Fry hit Jonathan Schoop and walked Robbie Grossman, Cabrera stepped to the plate as the potential go-ahead run.
Dillon Tate entered and kept Cabrera in the park — barely — but the frustration over his long out didn’t last long. After Baddoo scored, another run-scoring wild pitch scored Schoop and moved the potential tying run to third. Zack Short worked a full count before hitting a 99-mph line drive to short to end the threat.