Kinsler's legs stand out on milestone day for bat

Kinsler's legs stand out on milestone day for bat

ST. PETERSBURG -- Ian Kinsler isn't normally a stats guy. The milestones he has crossed as his career marches on usually don't make an impact on him. As he saw the names coming up with his latest milestone, however, he had to pause.

Kinsler's two-run home run off a Tropicana Field catwalk in Sunday's 5-1 win over the Rays was the 200th of his career. By itself, it's not much of a stat. Add with his other career numbers, though, and it's more exclusive. Just 40 players in Major League history have put up the combination of 200 homers, 1,000 runs, 1,600 hits and 200 stolen bases.

The list of active players in the club, besides now Kinsler, consists of Carlos Beltran and Alex Rodriguez. The rest of the list includes players like Hank Aaron, Willie Mays, Frank Robinson, George Brett, Paul Molitor, Reggie Jackson and Barry Bonds.

"You can say you're humbled and all that stuff," Kinsler said, "but I don't know if humbled is the right word. Those are legends of the game.

"I try to do whatever it takes to not be one-dimensional. That's my goal when I play this game, is to be able to run the bases well, be able to play defense well, and try to do every aspect of the game offensively, whether it's steal a base or score from first or advance on a ball in the dirt, whatever it may be. So hopefully … that's a reflection of that."

A better reflection, however, came earlier. His game-tying tally on Victor Martinez's groundout goes down as a run scored, but his dash from second on a potential inning-ending double play was the spark the Tigers needed to turn an eighth-inning threat into a breakout inning.

Kinsler ties the game late

It was part hustle, part aggressive instinct, part timely speed. But the first part was something that's part of Kinsler's game routine.

"If you watch the games, I do that every time I'm on second when there's an opportunity for a double play, even a throw across the infield," Kinsler explained. "That's just something I was taught. With two outs, you have an opportunity to score a run right there. And obviously, the play doesn't happen if Victor's not busting his tail down the line and beating that throw.

"You're always looking for opportunities to score. And right there, it worked out perfectly."

The opportunity for Martinez to beat it out came in part from the defense. Instead of shortstop Brad Miller covering second, Logan Forsythe retreated to cover the bag as first baseman Logan Morrison collected the ball. Morrison's throw sent Forsythe reaching behind him. He got the force, but the extra split-second Forsythe needed to throw to first cost him.

Kinsler's chance was helped by a late break from pitcher Xavier Cedeno, who had to dash to first to get there in time to take Forsythe's throw. When Kinsler rounded third, the left-handed Cedeno had to spin to throw home.

Not only did Kinsler keep running, he accelerated on his way around third base.

"When I saw there was an opportunity for [Martinez] to beat it out, I obviously took off right there," Kinsler said. "But when you see his foot hit the bag and [Cedeno] doesn't have the ball yet, my head went straight down. I was trying to run hard and make that play happen."

Jason Beck has covered the Tigers for since 2002. Read Beck's Blog, follow him on Twitter @beckjason and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.