Miguel Cabrera hits 500th career homer as Tigers down Jays in extras
Toronto lost its 3 series in a row for the 1st time in 2021
A ninth-inning throwing error from Blue Jays second baseman Marcus Semien gave the Detroit Tigers enough life to score an extra-inning victory and an added reason to celebrate Miguel Cabrera's historic 500th career homer on Sunday.
RBI singles from Daz Cameron and Willi Castro off Toronto reliever Kirby Snead provided Detroit (60-66) with a 5-3 win in 11 innings and the Blue Jays with their ninth loss in 11 extra-inning games this season.
Toronto (64-58) lost its third series in a row for the first time in 2021.
The Blue Jays were one out away from a 2-1 victory in the ninth inning when first baseman Vladimir Guerrero Jr could not scoop Semien's poor throw into the dirt on Harold Castro's grounder.
As a result, Willi Castro, who hit a ground-rule double to left field with two out, scored the tying run.
The Blue Jays snatched a one-run lead in the eighth inning when Lourdes Gurriel Jr. singled to right field with two out to score Corey Dickerson.
A Jonathan Schoop sacrifice fly in the 10th gave the Tigers a one-run advantage, but Toronto catcher Alejandro Kirk countered with a sacrifice fly to left to tie the game at 3-3.
Cabrera tied the game at 1-1 with one out in the sixth inning when he slammed a solo shot on a 1-1 changeup off Blue Jays southpaw Steven Matz.
"It was a 1-0 game, and you're just trying to keep runs off the board," Matz said. "It was a changeup that was outside. It wasn't even a strike."
The blast brought a smile to Cabrera as he trotted around the bases. There were hugs all around in the Tigers dugout, and he obliged the crowd of 14,685 at Rogers Centre with a curtain call.
The right-handed-hitting Cabrera hit a trademark opposite-field homer to right-centre field for his 13th of the season. The ball cleared the wall 20 feet to the left of the Tigers bullpen. So his teammates easily retrieved the keepsake for Cabrera.
He became the 28th player to join the 500-homer club. He also is 45 hits shy of the 3,000 milestone.
"There were a lot of things going on in my mind because I wanted to do it in Detroit, but it's tough to hit home runs over there," Cabrera said. "When I hit it, I said, 'come on, get up, get up.' I'm glad I hit that fly ball here because if I hit it in Comerica, it's going to be two outs. It's something special for my country, for my family, to be able to do this. I'm really happy."
"I've seen him play for a long, long time, going back to the minors," Blue Jays manager Charlie Montoyo said. "He's one of the best players ever. But it was tough to see in a 1-0 game."
The 38-year-old Venezuelan was stuck on 499 career homers since Aug. 11. He had gone 0 for 10 in the series against Toronto until his sixth-inning belt, striking out four times and walking once.
Matz went six innings, allowing five hits, the Cabrera homer and striking out one.
Former Blue Jays pitcher Drew Hutchison started for the Tigers. The former Toronto draft pick made 63 starts for the Blue Jays between 2012 and 2018.
Until his promotion last week, Hutchison had not pitched for a Major League Baseball team since an outing for the Texas Rangers on Aug. 21, 2018.
On Sunday, he made his second start for the Tigers, giving up an unearned run in the third inning because of an error from third baseman Jeimer Candelario on a grounder from Teoscar Hernandez.
Hutchison lasted 4.1 innings, allowing four hits, walking Guerrero in the first inning and striking out Gurriel in the fourth.
After a pair of stints as the designated hitter, recent Blue Jays callup Kevin Smith debuted at third base. He was flawless in the field but struck out with the bases loaded and two out in the 10th inning.