TORONTO — Not counting Justin Verlander’s second career no-hitter, the last time a Tiger reached a milestone number at Rogers Centre, Mike Maroth took his 20th loss in 2003, becoming the first Major Leaguer with a 20-loss season in 22 years.
The Tigers would love to put Miguel Cabrera’s 500th home run in the history books here, as would a surprising number of Tigers fans who made the trek across the border or from western Ontario to watch. But as Detroit’s recent homestand showed, it’s not simple enough to will it to be.
Blue Jays ace Hyun Jin Ryu shut down not only Cabrera, but the Tigers’ lineup in general, delivering seven shutout innings on five hits in Detroit’s 3-0 loss. Randal Grichuk’s two-run homer was the only scoring off Tigers starter Wily Peralta, who did his part to keep the Tigers close. Free-agent-to-be middle infielder Marcus Semien provided the final margin with his 30th homer of the year, a 399-foot drive down the left-field line off Erasmo Ramirez in the eighth.
Considering Ryu induced 11 ground-ball outs, it was a rough day for any Tiger to try to take a shot at the symmetric depths of Rogers Centre. For Cabrera, a .230 career hitter at Rogers Centre with seven home runs in 39 games entering the day, it was particularly rough. Much like former Tiger Robbie Ray a day earlier, Ryu didn’t allow the former Triple Crown winner to center a ball, inducing a groundout on a 2-0 pitch leading off the second inning and a well-struck double play off an 0-2 pitch to end the fourth.
Cabrera went to the plate in the seventh inning looking to start a rally and drew a leadoff walk, swinging once in six pitches but not chasing a heavy diet of Ryu pitches off the outside corner. He had one more chance with two outs in the ninth against Blue Jays closer Jordan Romano, who struck him out for a second consecutive game.
That was it for Cabrera in his eighth game over 10 days since hitting his 499th home run last week in Baltimore. He’s 4-for-28 with a double, four RBIs and four walks in that stretch.