TORONTO, ONT – Miguel Cabrera's 500th career homer was a big moment for everyone who had a hand in the slugger's stellar career.
Even on the road, it was a big party.
Cabrera became the 28th major leaguer to hit 500 home runs, and the Detroit Tigers beat the Toronto Blue Jays 5-3 in 11 innings on Sunday.
Daz Cameron and Willi Castro each hit an RBI double in the 11th to help Detroit take two of three in the weekend series.
The 38-year-old Cabrera connected on a 1-1 pitch from left-hander Steven Matz in the sixth, sending the ball over the scoreboard in right-center field. Measured at 400 feet, the homer tied it at 1.
Cabrera is the first Venezuelan to hit 500 homers.
“It’s something special for my country, for my family, to be able to do this,” he said. “I’m really happy.”
Much of the crowd of 14,685 at Rogers Centre rose for a standing ovation as Cabrera rounded the bases. After celebrating with his teammates, he came out to accept a curtain call, taking off his helmet and bowing to the fans behind the first-base dugout.
“It came in a pivotal moment and it came in a team win,” Tigers manager A.J. Hinch said. “You couldn’t have scripted it much better.”
Jeimer Candelario, who was on deck, was the first teammate to celebrate with Cabrera.
“When he hit that ball, I knew something special was about to happen and history was about to happen,” Candelario said. “For me, being a part of that is a blessing. It helped us to win a ballgame, too.”
Hinch asked Cabrera to address the Tigers after the game, and the slugger thanked his teammates for their support.
“So proud for him and his family, and a career accomplishment so rare you may never get to be a part of this again,” Hinch said. “We have no idea who the next person can be to pass this big number.”
Lourdes Gurriel Jr. broke the tie with a two-out single off Detroit’s Michael Fulmer in the eighth. It was Toronto’s first hit in 26 at-bats this series with a runner in scoring position, but the Blue Jays couldn’t hold on in the ninth.
After Willi Castro hit a two-out double off Adam Cimber, left-hander Tayler Saucedo came on to face pinch-hitter Harold Castro, who hit a routine grounder to second. Marcus Semien bounced his throw to first and the ball got away from Vladimir Guerrero Jr., allowing the tying run to score.
“He’s played a Gold Glove-caliber second base,” Blue Jays manager Charlie Montoyo said of Semien. “He just made an error on that one.”
Detroit’s Jonathan Schoop hit a sacrifice fly off Brad Hand in the 10th but Alejandro Kirk replied with a sacrifice fly off Tigers lefty Gregory Soto in the bottom half. Toronto loaded the bases with two outs but Soto struck out rookie Kevin Smith.
Kirby Snead (0-1), Toronto’s seventh pitcher of the game, got two quick outs in the 11th before Cameron and Willi Castro hit back-to-back RBI doubles.
Soto (6-3) worked two innings for the win, and Joe Jiménez got three outs for his first save in two chances.
It’s the third time this season the Blue Jays have lost when leading after eight innings. Toronto has lost seven of nine overall, dropping three straight series for the first time this season.
“Obviously we’re not swinging the bats,” Montoyo said.
Making his second start after being activated off the injured list Saturday, Tigers center fielder Derek Hill made a terrific diving catch to snare Smith’s liner in the second, stranding runners at first and second.
SEE YOU NEXT WEEKEND!
The Tigers and Blue Jays wrap up their season series with three games in Detroit next Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.
Blue Jays: RHP Ross Stripling (strained left oblique) has resumed throwing after being shut down for 10 days. … Semien stayed in the game after being hit on the left hand by a pitch from José Cisnero in the seventh.
Tigers: Detroit put RHP Wily Peralta (blister) on the 10-day injured list and recalled RHP Alex Lange.
The Blue Jays activated right-hander Alek Manoah off the bereavement list and optioned infielder Otto Lopez to Triple-A Buffalo.
Blue Jays: Manoah (5-2, 3.34 ERA) starts Monday in the opener of a four-game home series against the White Sox. RHP Lance Lynn (10-3, 2.26 ERA) starts for Chicago.
Tigers: RHP Casey Mize starts Tuesday in the opener of a two-game series at St. Louis. RHP Jack Flaherty (9-1, 2.68 ERA) starts for the Cardinals.
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