Leyland likes hit-and-run with Prince, Miggy

Leyland likes hit-and-run with Prince, Miggy

Leyland likes hit-and-run with Prince, Miggy

KANSAS CITY -- One of the benefits of having Prince Fielder hitting behind Miguel Cabrera, besides the idea of protecting a star hitter in the batting order, is the chance to drive in Cabrera from first base with a home run. It's something left-handed hitting power hitters do.

On occasion, however, manager Jim Leyland isn't afraid to put Cabrera in motion and let Fielder play contact baseball and try to get Cabrera from first to third. By doing that on Tuesday, Cabrera moved into position for the go-ahead run on a Victor Martinez sacrifice fly.

The full count pitch to Fielder gave Cabrera the opportunity.

"I just felt like Prince would put the ball in play for sure," Leyland said on Wednesday morning. "I did what I thought was the right thing to do."

According to baseball-reference.com, it marked the 17th time that Cabrera has been on first base when a batter has singled. Cabrera has gone first to third just four of those times. By contrast, Cabrera has scored from first on a double six times in eight opportunities, and has scored from second on a single five times out of seven hits.

By contrast, Cabrera went from first to third 14 times on 46 singles last year, and 26 times out of 69 singles when Martinez was hitting behind him two years ago. The 2011 numbers ranked him among the best in the league.

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.