DETROIT — The Cleveland Indians can make a strong case for Miguel Cabrera as an All-Star starter.
Cabrera once again tagged Corey Kluber and the Indians, hitting a booming home run and leading the Detroit Tigers to an 8-1 victory Sunday.
Cabrera hit his 14th homer, a solo drive in the fourth inning that went an estimated 450 feet into the left edge of the batter’s eye. It landed close to the 452-footer he hit Friday night.
The two-time AL MVP is 20 for 35 with five homers in his career against Kluber (3-8). The reigning Cy Young Award winner lost his third straight decision and remained winless against AL Central opponents.
“You’re asking the wrong guy,” Kluber deadpanned when asked how he approaches the slugger. “He’s doing a really good job of hitting mistakes when we throw them.”
Cabrera had three hits and scored three times. He went 7 for 11 in the series with a pair of homers and six RBIs.
Some fans and critics have complained about the All-Star voting, which currently has seven Kansas City Royals players in starting spots for the American League.
It doesn’t bother Cabrera.
“If they ask me, I’ll go play,” he said. “Whether they vote for me or don’t vote for me, I don’t care. Whichever is good.
“If I’m on the All-Star team, that’s good. We play for something, we play to be the home team in the World Series. That’s very important.”
He’s also not concerned with how far his homers travel — just as long as they clear the wall.
“We won,” he said. “That’s more important. … It doesn’t matter if it’s far or short.”
Depends on whom you ask.
“There’s not many no-doubters that go to that part of the park,” manager Brad Ausmus said. “That’s two in a series and if you didn’t have Miguel Cabrera here you’d be lucky to see two in a season.”
J.D. Martinez added a three-run homer for the Tigers on a soggy afternoon.
Alfredo Simon (7-3) allowed three hits and struck out five in the first five innings.
Heavy, persistent rain delayed the game for nearly two hours after the fifth and ended both starters’ afternoons. Kluber gave up two runs and four hits in five innings.
Martinez sent his 12th home run into the right-field stands to chase Scott Atchison, who relieved Kluber after the rain delay.
Bryan Holaday hit a two-run double during the Tigers’ three-run eighth.
Brandon Moss hit his 11th home run in the ninth off Joakim Soria.
Indians INF Francisco Lindor has drawn raves for his defense, but made his major league debut as a DH. He got his first hit in the ninth when he singled off Soria and certainly will remember it — he tripped after touching first and had to go back after falling down.
“I didn’t feel my legs,” he said with a broad smile. “As soon as it hit the ground, I was thinking two. I didn’t make it.”
The 21-year-old’s contract was purchased from Triple-A Columbus, where he hit .281 with 22 RBIs in 58 games. Lindor was the eighth overall pick in the 2011 first-year draft.
Indians: DH Nick Swisher was put on the 15-day disabled list with left knee inflammation. He underwent procedures on both knees last season that delayed his 2015 debut until May 3. Swisher is hitting .198 with two homers and eight RBIs in 30 games.
Tigers: DH Victor Martinez was 1 for 4 with an RBI on Sunday in the first of a four-game rehab assignment with Triple-A Toledo. Ausmus said the team will evaluate Martinez, who finished second in last season’s AL MVP voting, after Toledo finishes a series later this week at Syracuse. Martinez has been on the 15-day disabled list since May 19 with a nagging left knee injury. … Reliever Bruce Rondon (biceps tendinitis) pitched the eighth inning of the game for Toledo and allowed a hit with a strikeout and walk in a scoreless frame. The team could make a decision on his future as early as Monday.
Indians: Trevor Bauer (5-3, 3.53) starts for Cleveland in the opener of a series against the Cubs’ Jake Arrieta (6-4, 3.16).
Tigers: Anibal Sanchez (4-7, 5.16) faces visiting Cincinnati to begin a two-game series Monday night.