Miggy swats 511th HR before rain halts game

Detroit Tigers

DETROIT — Tarik Skubal noted last week that his favorite memory from three-plus years of playing with  Miguel Cabrera was watching him homer through the snow on Opening Day in 2021.

“He slides into second base because he doesn’t know it’s a homer,” Skubal recalled. “I couldn’t tell if it was a homer; I was surprised we were even playing. I don’t know how he sees the white ball with all the snow coming down. It takes a guy of that caliber to do that.

“That’s iconic Miggy to me. A lot of my coolest moments, best moments in baseball, are him accomplishing something. There’s been a lot of history that I’ve been able to watch and be a part of, which is really special to me.”

On a rainy Wednesday night at Comerica Park, Cabrera recreated the homer, just with different precipitation. And as Cabrera splashed around the muddy infield on his trip around the bases for his 511th career home run, he couldn’t help but laugh.

For now, the home run is part of a suspended game after heavier rain halted the game just before the top of the fifth inning. It will resume at 1:10 p.m. ET where it stopped. Thursday’s originally scheduled game, featuring Tigers starter Sawyer Gipson-Long and Royals starter Cole Ragans, will begin about 30 minutes after the resumed game ends.

Cabrera’s opposite-field drive tied him with Hall of Famer Mel Ott for 25th on MLB’s all-time home run list. Miggy also tied Norm Cash for second in Tigers history with 373 homers.

Cabrera’s latest home run is believed to be his first to take advantage of Comerica Park’s new outfield dimensions. It came in one of the areas of the park that has taunted him over the years. Cabrera jumped on a first-pitch fastball from Royals opener Jonathan Bowlan and sent a 397-foot drive through the raindrops and off the high wall in right-center field. Under the old dimensions, it would’ve still been in play, but the ball went well over the new fence just in front of the wall.

Unlike the snow homer two years ago, Cabrera knew it was out and did not slide into second base.

He added a single through the left side of the muddy infield two innings later, and eventually scored on Tyler Nevin’s three-run homer. It was Cabrera’s 3,170th career hit, still 16th in Major League history, 14 shy of Cal Ripken Jr.

By that point, the rain had picked up, putting umpires and Comerica Park’s grounds crew in a battle to get the game through five innings to make it official. The giant splash of water that Nevin created trying to shoot a hockey puck in the dugout as part of the Tigers’ home-run celebration was a bad sign. Eventually, the rain was too much for the grounds crew to keep the infield playable, too many puddles developing in too many areas.

By suspending the game rather than postponing it, the home run still has a chance to count if they can get enough outs Thursday to make the game official. Whether Cabrera gets another at-bat in the game remains to be seen. He was scheduled to get Thursday off before playing all three games of the Tigers’ season-ending series against the Guardians on Miggy Celebration Weekend.

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