Saturday, Dec 10, 2016
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Tigers extend Pirates' skid

DETROIT - Miguel Cabrera made an impressive swing look effortless.

Cabrera drove an outside pitch over the right-center fence in the eighth inning Sunday for a go-ahead, three-run homer that sent the Detroit Tigers to a 4-3 victory over the skidding Pittsburgh Pirates.

"As long as you watch baseball, you won't see many guys that hit the ball to opposite field like that," Tigers manager Jim Leyland said. "People get used to it around here. But trust me, in the history of the game, there's not many guys that take it out to opposite field like it's nothing."

Leyland managed one of those players, Barry Bonds, for the first seven years of his career. Since Bonds left the Pirates in 1992 to sign with San Francisco, they haven't had a winning record.

Pittsburgh, an NL-worst 23-40, has lost a season-high eight straight to push the franchise closer to extending its run of futility. The Pirates have had 17 straight losing seasons.

They looked as though they might finally end their skid until Carlos Guillen, who hit a leadoff home run in the 10th inning to give Detroit a 4-3 win Saturday, singled as a pinch-hitter to open the eighth and chase starter Jeff Karstens.

Guillen and Johnny Damon, who drew a two-out walk against reliever Javier Lopez, were on base when Cabrera became the first major league hitter to reach 19 homers and 56 RBIs this season.

"Tough game," Pirates manager John Russell said.

Detroit, meanwhile, got another win at home, where its 20-10 record has helped offset a 13-19 mark on the road to leave the Tigers 2 1/2 games behind AL Central-leading Minnesota.

Armando Galarraga gave up two runs in his first home start since his near-perfect game.

"It was an unbelievable experience here that night, but it is important that I keep it in the past," he said.

Brad Thomas (4-0) replaced Galarraga and got the final out in the eighth inning for the win. Jose Valverde closed it for his 13th save, but gave up a run to end his scoreless streak at 25 appearances.

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