DETROIT -- One of the better lines about Miguel Cabrera around the Tigers clubhouse the last few years is that a runner at first base is a runner in scoring position, the way he drives runs in. They've never come home from there on a Cabrera walk, though, until Sunday.
"Miggy's still taking off his shin pad," Ian Kinsler said, "and I'm running to third."
It's another new scoring method for the go-go Tigers, though this one had more to do with a three-error play from the Angels defense.
"A lot happened on one play," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. "It was obviously a strange play. We thought we had Cabrera struck out, and all of a sudden they have Cabrera on second base with a run in. Just a poor play."
Kinsler, batting second in front of Cabrera on Sunday, started his trek around the bases with a four-pitch walk with one out in the opening inning. In a leadoff spot situation, he might have tried going. With Cabrera up, he wasn't about to open up first base, especially when Angels lefty Hector Santiago fell behind on another 3-0 count.
Once Santiago recovered to get the count full, that was the chance for Kinsler to go, and that's where the Angels defense turned shambolic.
Faced with the unenviable task of a 3-2 pitch to Cabrera, Santiago tried to catch Cabrera on a changeup. Kinsler took off on the pitch.
"I wasn't sure if there was going to be a strike three or a ball four," Kinsler said, "so I had to go, and the catcher obviously came up and threw. I had to continue to run just in case he called it a strike."
It was close enough at the knees that Angels catcher Hank Conger had reason to anticipate a called third strike, which would've put Kinsler in play for an out at second. Conger stepped up and threw as Cabrera awaited the call.
"You know where the pitch is," Scioscia said. "You can't wait for an umpire's call. You have to get your throw off. The umpire called it low. Hank thought it was a good pitch and he's going to follow through on his throw."
The throw sailed into center field, sending Kinsler on his way to third as Mike Trout ran down the ball. That's where the play seemingly stopped until Trout's throw missed the cutoff man at second base.
Kinsler, having held up past third base, took off for home as Santiago retrieved the ball on the third-base side of the mound. Santiago seemingly had a chance to get Kinsler at the plate, but his throw went wide and to the backstop.
Official scorer Ron Kleinfelter assigned three different throwing errors on the play -- Conger allowing Kinsler to get to third, Trout allowing Kinsler to score, and Santiago allowing Cabrera to take second base.
According to STATS, it was the first time a team made three errors on one play since the Orioles did so against the Rays on April 16, 2007. Two of those errors, however, came from the same player, Aubrey Huff.
"That's a little unusual," Kinsler said. "Maybe a strike three call, he throws it into center field and I'm able to move up to third. But ball four, Miggy's still taking off his shin pad and I'm running to third. It was an unusual play, got kind of lucky there at the end. I've never seen it before from anyone else, and I've never been a part of something like that, so it was definitely an unusual play."
Romine to have opportunity to contribute at short
DETROIT -- When Andrew Romine started at shortstop Friday night against the Angels, manager Brad Ausmus said he was working off the theory that a player has extra motivation when he faces his old team for the first time. Two days and two more starts later, Romine has a lot more motivation than that.
With Alex Gonzalez gone, Romine now has something to prove to his new club, too.
"Absolutely," Romine said. "I don't know any guy in baseball who wouldn't take it as an opportunity to show what you've got. It's a great spot for me to showcase what I can do. And at the same time, if I can do what I'm capable of, then it's going to help the team win. It works both ways."
Two things he clearly showed this weekend that he can do are field and run. The fielding part was the reason they brought him in after the extent of Jose Iglesias' injury became clear. The speed has caught them by surprise.
After two games of limited action, Romine made one play after another Sunday behind sinkerballer Rick Porcello. His four assists on groundouts included a key sixth-inning double play on Albert Pujols to erase a leadoff walk from Mike Trout in what was then a 1-1 game.
"He's a very consistent shortstop," second baseman Ian Kinsler said. "I think, just by his actions, you might not think that he has that much range, but he definitely has a good amount of range and he has a very, very strong arm. I don't think people understand how good of an arm he has, but he's a good player. He's going to continue to work hard and if he continues to get opportunities, he's going to get better."
At the plate, he enjoyed his best game of the season, reaching base all three times up with two singles and a walk. He stole second base the first two times, setting up RBI opportunities for the top of the Tigers batting order, though he was stranded each time.
"If I can get to second with Kinsler and Rajai [Davis], not to mention Torii [Hunter] and [Miguel] Cabrera, that's huge," Romine said. "I've been a leadoff guy my whole career coming up, and then when I made it to the big leagues, I was in the nine hole as a second leadoff guy. It's a familiar spot.
"I know what I'm supposed to do. I get on as the nine-hole. Obviously we have a bunch of guys at the top of the lineup that are going to hit. I just pick the right times. Certain guys, obviously, you let them hit."
That fits into Ausmus' offensive style.
"He's much faster than reported," Ausmus said. "We knew he could run, but he's actually fast. I'd say he's not an above-average runner, he's well above average. That's kind of an added bonus."
He'll get his chances. Though the switch-hitting Romine is expected to platoon at short with right-handed hitting Danny Worth, Ausmus suggested it won't strictly be a righty-lefty mix. With no additional moves seemingly imminent, Romine will get an opportunity.
Tigers expected to swap reliever for bench bat soon
DETROIT -- While the Tigers shuffled their shortstops, that was the only move they made Sunday. Their expected move to bring back a fourth bench player and pare back their bullpen to seven relievers didn't happen Sunday.
That said, it shouldn't be long. While Ausmus indicated a move could be near, he said Sunday morning that they wanted to see how Sunday's game played out before doing anything. Rick Porcello's seven quality innings Sunday likely alleviated any hesitation.
By rule, the Tigers can't recall outfielder Tyler Collins -- the man optioned to Triple-A Toledo to make room for an extra reliever -- for another week. He must stay in the Minors for at least 10 days unless the Tigers have to place someone on the disabled list. Given Collins' limited playing time in Detroit, though, another bench guy might have been likely anyway.
Two veteran candidates at Triple-A Toledo made their case Saturday. Speedy outfielder Ezequiel Carrera, who made an impression on the Tigers in Spring Training, went 5-for-8 with a home run in a Mud Hens' doubleheader at Columbus. J.D. Martinez, meanwhile, homered four times in the twin bill, three times in the opener, to raise his total to 10 home runs in 17 games this year. He's 20-for-71 (.282), with half of his hits leaving the yard.