DETROIT -- The Tigers took the rubber match of their three-game series against the Rays on Sunday, winning for the sixth time in seven games, but it came at a price. Miguel Cabrera and Jordan Zimmermann both left the game with injuries, but not until after an early outburst off Rays ace Chris Archer provided all the necessary run support in a 9-4 win at Comerica Park.
The pitching duel between Archer and Zimmermann didn't last long. RBI hits from J.D. Martinez and Cabrera plated two runs before Archer recorded an out. Andrew Romine's RBI triple in the second continued the scoring before Cabrera's solo homer and Cameron Maybin's two-run single completed the damage in the third.
"We didn't chase a lot," Tigers manager Brad Ausmus said. "I think that was the important thing. He's got the slider, which is a very good pitch, but we were able to lay off it or get it in the zone. I think that's the big thing."
Archer gave up six runs on eight hits over three innings and 77 pitches. Zimmermann suffered a right groin strain delivering a pitch in the sixth inning. An inning later, Cabrera was hit just below his left knee, eventually forcing him out for a pinch-runner. The Tigers announced that Cabrera is day to day with a bruised knee.
"Kind of put ourselves in a hole early," Rays manager Kevin Cash said. "And just tough to overcome. They kept adding those first three innings. Arch, just a tough day. They squared some balls up and they found some holes with a couple of guys on base. That sums up when you're going through maybe a little bit of a rough patch. Those things are going to happen."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED Maybin makes it happen in field: With home runs and clutch hits all week, all Maybin's return to Detroit was missing was a highlight catch, the kind of play the Tigers expected out of him when they drafted him in 2005. He got his chance in the second inning on Steve Pearce's drive to straightaway center, which Maybin ran down on the warning track before crashing into the wall.
"He's been outstanding in all facets of the game," Ausmus said. "Defensively he made a nice play against the wall. Big walk late in the game with the bases loaded. He's been a prototypical sparkplug since he's come back."
Short start: Archer threw strikes, but he wasn't effective as he lasted just three innings, which was his shortest stint since pitching three-plus innings at Houston on June 14, 2014. However, he allowed six earned runs on Sunday and just one in that outing against the Astros. Archer's shortest career start came on Aug. 7, 2013, at Arizona, when he lasted just 1 2/3 innings. Of the 77 pitches Archer threw Sunday, 51 were for strikes. He threw 37 pitches in his final inning. Archer has struggled in the first inning this season and did so again on Sunday when he allowed two runs. The right-hander's ERA in the first inning is now 10.80. More >
Cabrera hits the shrubs: Before Cabrera left with a knee injury, he took a trot around the bases with his third home run of the series. Archer's second pitch of the third inning was enough for Cabrera to center with his bat, sending the ball to the shrubs above the center-field wall. Statcast™ estimated the drive at 433 feet.
Extra bases for Beckham:Tim Beckham woke up Comerica Park in the seventh when he hit a two-run homer off Drew VerHagen, which pulled the Rays to within two runs of the lead. What caught everyone's attention was the fact his second home run of the season landed in the hedges over the 420-foot sign in center field. Beckham has four extra-base hits in his last 13 at-bats.
"I ran into one," Beckham said.
"It's only been a week. I hope that at the end of 4 1/2 months, we can say it's only 4 1/2 months. But he's been outstanding. You can't ask for more out of him so far." -- Ausmus, on Maybin
"We were a big hit away today. As rough as it was early, we were still a big hit away from tying this ballgame up at some point." -- Cash, on the Rays' offense
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS Evan Longoria got an infield single in the sixth, which extended his hitting streak to 10 games. Jason Bartlett owns the team record when he hit safely in 19 consecutive games from May 15, 2009 through June 25, 2009.
Romine, who barely missed a home run into the right-field corner Sunday, settled for his first career triple. He has four Major League home runs in his career, but only one at Comerica Park. He has two at Yankee Stadium.
Zimmermann had retired 12 consecutive batters before Longoria extended the sixth inning with a two-out infield single. On the next pitch, Zimmermann grimaced at the end of his delivery, grabbing at his groin. He left the game without a warmup pitch to test it out. Cabrera took Dana Eveland's first pitch of the game off his left leg, just below the knee, eventually going to the ground in pain. He got up and limped to first base, but was lifted for pinch-runner Jose Iglesias.
WHAT'S NEXT Rays: The Rays travel to Miami to begin a two-game stop at Marlins Park on Monday. Matt Moore (1-3, 5.09 ERA) will start the 7:10 p.m. ET game. He's coming off a three-game funk in which he lasted just 14 innings combined. The Rays took advantage of Thursday's off-day to separate their left-handers (Moore and Drew Smyly). The extra rest could benefit Moore.
Tigers: Detroit welcomes the upstart Phillies to Comerica Park for a three-game series beginning with a 7:10 p.m. ET game Monday. Mike Pelfrey (0-4, 5.49 ERA) makes his latest attempt at his first win as a Tiger opposite Vince Velasquez (5-1, 2.42 ERA), who brings a five-start unbeaten streak to town.