CHICAGO -- Cameron Maybin, fielding questions for a Q and A before the game, was stumped by one:
“What is the most annoying question you get asked by the media?”
Perhaps he was just trying to be diplomatic, but he struggled for a few minutes to come up with anything particularly bothersome or tedious. Then he thought of something.
“Getting asked a question about Miggy not hitting a homer or something in a week. It's like, this guy -- we're talking about Miguel Cabrera. That question is kind of annoying,” Maybin politely admitted.
The good news for the Detroit Tigers center fielder?
He’ll be getting a respite from that after Friday night’s game in which Cabrera delivered a signature performance, going 4-for-4 with a clutch two-run single that fueled his team’s 7-5 win against the Chicago White Sox at U.S. Cellular Field.
The 33-year-old slugger, the Tigers’ lone representative at the All-Star Game in San Diego last week, homered in Thursday night’s 2-1 rain-shortened victory as well. That solo shot, which snapped a 69-at-bat homerless streak, was a harbinger of things to come.
In his final at-bat of his fourth four-hit game of the season (he has 43 over his career), Cabrera approached the plate in a tie game, 5-5, with the bases loaded, and laced a two-run single up the middle to score both Jose Iglesias and Ian Kinsler. With that critical hit, Cabrera recorded the 1,500th and 1,501st RBIs of his career.
According to ESPN Stats & Information, Cabrera became only the eighth player in MLB history to reach the 400 home run and 1,500 RBI milestones in the first 14 seasons of his career, joining the ranks of Alex Rodriguez, Manny Ramirez, Albert Pujols, Lou Gehrig, Jimmie Foxx, Jeff Bagwell and Hank Aaron.
The historic hit wasn’t just a big one for Cabrera’s laundry list of accomplishments, it was the sort of hit that has been elusive for a Tigers offense that has been anemic as of late.
“There’s no question we’ve been kind of searching in recent games for that kind of hit,” manager Brad Ausmus said.
Safe to say that Cabrera has snapped out of his funk?
“Yeah, I think it was just a matter of time,” Ausmus said. “A lot of people, when a player goes into a funk, they want to write him off, but you’ve got to remember the resume this guy carries. He’s been doing it for a long time. It was just a matter of time for him to start getting hits again.”
That timely offense was particularly important on a night when rookie pitcher Michael Fulmer was not at his best. Though the 23-year-old has been sensational since being called up by the club, he looked “off,” according to Ausmus, who wondered whether the heat -- 89 degrees at first pitch -- may have been a factor.
Fulmer tied a career high by allowing five runs on Friday night, though Cabrera and the bullpen picked him up for the Tigers’ second win of the series against the White Sox.
“It’s hard to say, but you almost expect it from him. He’s the greatest hitter on the planet,” Fulmer said. “For him to come through for us like that was huge. It was a big win for us tonight.”