DETROIT -- Miguel Cabrera's opposite-field home run off Aaron Crow on Saturday night was his first walk-off homer of the year. It was obviously not his first bit of late-inning dramatics.
In a season with no shortage of statistics from Cabrera to marvel, that's just the latest. With Cabrera's blast Saturday, three of his past seven home runs have come in the ninth inning. Two were his shots off Mariano Rivera last weekend at Yankee Stadium.
Add in his go-ahead shot to straightaway center off rookie Danny Salazar in Cleveland on Aug. 7, and four of Cabrera's last eight home runs have come in the eighth inning or later in close games. Ten of his last 11 homers have either tied the game or put Detroit ahead.
That still might not be enough to give Cabrera the momentum he needs in his quest for a second consecutive Triple Crown. Even with his 40th homer of the year Sunday afternoon off Bruce Chen, he trails Baltimore's Chris Davis by four. He continues to hold off Davis in the RBI race, 119 to 113. His third consecutive batting title is all but assured if he stays healthy and productive down the stretch.
The gradual improvement in Cabrera's health and mobility over the last few days suggest he should. Manager Jim Leyland reiterated that he has been told by the team's training staff that Cabrera can continue to recuperate from his knee, thigh and abdominal injuries through treatment while still in the lineup.
"If it couldn't get better when he's playing, then we would have DL'ed him to get it right," Leyland said.
Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. Read Beck's Blog and follow him on Twitter @beckjason. Bobby Nightengale is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.Less