DETROIT -- The Tigers have kept track of home runs that land in between the new and old fences in left field since they changed the dimensions in 2003. What they saw from Miguel Cabrera in Saturday's 10-0 win over the Red Sox, a ball landing between the new left-field fence and the bullpen dugout, might be a first.
It took replay review to clarify, but it earned Cabrera his first multihomer game of the season, and the Tigers a 6-0 lead before Prince Fielder added another homer three pitches later.
Cabrera was 1-for-11 off former Marlins teammate Josh Beckett before he took a Beckett fastball deep in the first inning for a two-run homer. Beckett caught Cabrera check-swinging at a called third strike in the third, but Cabrera came back in the fifth and lofted a drive to left-center.
What was originally ruled a ground-rule double for Cabrera appeared at full speed like it got stuck underneath the chain-link fence in left. Only on close up replay from camera angles in left field did the arc on the ball become apparent.
"I wasn't sure," Cabrera said.
The space in between the dugout and the fence came as a result of Comerica Park's reconfiguration and reconstruction in 2003. After three seasons with a massive left field, including 395 feet to the left-field power alley, the Tigers moved in the fences, including 20 feet in that vicinity. To fill the space, they moved the bullpens from right field to left in '04, turning the extra space in right into additional seats.
The bullpen dugout was built close to the fence, but not right up against it. The ball bounced off that dugout, then hit the back of the fence, creating the appearance like it got stuff.
Tigers relievers and bullpen coach Mike Rojas saw the ball close up and let the dugout know. Manager Jim Leyland went out to argue his case with the umpires.
"I could tell the way our bullpen reacted that it was a home run," Leyland said. "I can't really see it, to be honest with you, but I could tell the way our bullpen reacted that it was definitely out of the park."
After replay, the umpiring crew got it correct.
"I give the umpires a lot of credit," Leyland said. "They got it right, and they gave us the opportunity when they said that they would look at it. I'm not allowed to ask them, but I've got to give them a lot of credit. They said, 'You know what, we should take a look at this.' And it was clearly a home run."
Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. Read Beck's Blog and follow him on Twitter @beckjason. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.