DETROIT — Miguel Cabrera was in a joking mood Friday afternoon. When asked what he learned from his chase for 500 career home runs that could help him on his road to 3,000 hits, he smiled.
“I think 3,000 is different,” he said, “because an infield hit can make it.”
He got a good laugh out of that one. Hours later, his 2,980th hit was a broken-bat grounder down the third-base line as he hurried his 38-year-old frame to first base. The crowd roared as the hit counter updated in left field.
The single wasn’t enough to help the Tigers in a 3-1 loss to the Royals, continuing Detroit’s pattern of playing up to contending teams and down against teams out of the race. Still, on a Friday night that the Tigers designated as Miggy Celebration Day, it was a memorable evening nonetheless.
Cabrera grounded out against Carlos Hernández in his first at-bat Friday, then grounded into a double play in the third. His infield single off Domingo Tapia helped spark a sixth-inning rally that culminated in the Tigers’ lone run on an Eric Haase single, tying the game following Whit Merrifield’s sacrifice fly off Casey Mize in the third.