Detroit Tigers’ Miguel Cabrera, Robbie Grossman group up for 5-1 win vs. Pittsburgh Pirates

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PITTSBURGH — Miguel Cabrera is officially chasing 3,000 career hits in 2021.

The Detroit Tigers’ veteran posted his second consecutive three-hit performance and chipped in three RBIs in Wednesday’s 5-1 victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates at PNC Park. After dropping the first two contests in the three-game series, the Tigers (66-75) avoided getting swept by the third-worst team in baseball.

Cabrera is 29 hits away from the esteemed 3,000-hit club with 21 games remaining this season. Still, the 38-year-old is expected to get at least a few games off to rest his body. He would be the 33rd player with No. 3,000.

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Detroit Tigers' Robbie Grossman (8) is greeted by Miguel Cabrera (24) after hitting a solo home run off Pittsburgh Pirates relief pitcher Cody Ponce during the seventh inning at PNC Park in Pittsburgh on Wednesday, Sept. 8, 2021.

Detroit Tigers’ Robbie Grossman (8) is greeted by Miguel Cabrera (24) after hitting a solo home run off Pittsburgh Pirates relief pitcher Cody Ponce during the seventh inning at PNC Park in Pittsburgh on Wednesday, Sept. 8, 2021.

Cabrera became the 28th player in MLB history to reach 500 home runs. He accomplished the feat Aug. 22 against the Toronto Blue Jays at Rogers Centre. He has since added two long balls for No. 502 and last homered Sept. 1 at Comerica Park.

In the first inning, Cabrera doubled — the 594th of his 19-year career — to right off Pirates starter Mitch Keller. His two-out drive to the wall scored Robbie Grossman (single) from first base and gave the Tigers a 1-0 lead.

With six more doubles, he will be the 18th player in MLB history to record 600 doubles. If Cabrera racks up 500 home runs, 3,000 hits and 600 doubles, he will be one of three players to reach all three historic milestones, along with Hank Aaron and Albert Pujols.

Cabrera added RBI singles in the third and fifth innings for a 3-1 lead. He singled with two outs in the seventh for his fourth and final hit of the night. Over his past two games, Cabrera is 7-for-8 (.875) with two doubles and four RBIs.

He has hit safely in seven consecutive plate appearances, the longest streak of his career.

Grossman helps Miggy

Hitting directly ahead of Cabrera in the lineup, Grossman put together one of his strongest games of the season. He finished 4-for-5 with a home run, RBI and strikeout, often helping set the table for Cabrera’s RBI opportunities.

It marked Grossman’s fourth four-hit game of his nine-year career.

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Robbie Grossman #8 of the Detroit Tigers singles in the first inning during the game against the Pittsburgh Pirates at PNC Park on September 8, 2021 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

Robbie Grossman #8 of the Detroit Tigers singles in the first inning during the game against the Pittsburgh Pirates at PNC Park on September 8, 2021 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

In the seventh inning, Grossman got the job done by himself.

Facing reliever Cody Ponce, Grossman clobbered a cutter 384 feet down the right-field line. The ball — traveling with a 103.4 mph exit velocity — barley stayed fair but was enough for a solo home run. He now has 22 home runs this season.

The long ball from Grossman put the Tigers ahead 5-1.

Grossman and Cabrera combined for eight hits in nine at-bats in Wednesday’s win. (The Tigers scored their fourth run in the fifth on Jeimer Candelario’s RBI single to score Grossman.)

Manning, then bullpen

Making his 14th start, right-hander Matt Manning couldn’t pitch beyond the third inning.

On the final play of the third, Colin Moran hit a line drive off his left knee. Although Manning walked off the field on his own power, the Tigers pulled him with a left knee contusion. After throwing 17 pitches in the first inning and 23 in the second, the 23-year-old rookie settled in with 12 pitches in a strong third frame.

Of Manning’s 52 pitches, 35 went for strikes.

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Matt Manning #25 of the Detroit Tigers delivers a pitch in the second inning during the game against the Pittsburgh Pirates at PNC Park on September 8, 2021 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

Matt Manning #25 of the Detroit Tigers delivers a pitch in the second inning during the game against the Pittsburgh Pirates at PNC Park on September 8, 2021 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

Manning allowed one run on four hits — without a walk — and four strikeouts over three innings. He logged four swings and misses with one four-seam fastball, two sliders and one two-seam fastball, along with generating four called strikes with his curveball.

Drew Hutchison (two innings), Derek Holland (one inning), Jose Urena (one inning), Michael Fulmer (one inning) and Gregory Soto (one inning) kept the Pirates from scoring the rest of the way.

Evan Petzold is a sports reporter at the Detroit Free Press. Contact him at epetzold@freepress.com or follow him on Twitter @EvanPetzold. Learn extra on the Detroit Tigers and join our Tigers publication.

This text initially appeared on Detroit Free Press: Detroit Tigers get offense from Miguel Cabrera, Robbie Grossman in win

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