MLB

Tigers star Cabrera relieved he 'got it over with' after hitting 500th home run

By Sports Desk August 22, 2021

It has been a stressful couple of weeks for one of the greatest right-handed hitters in baseball history, but Miguel Cabrera finally reached a long-awaited milestone Sunday with his 500th career home run. 

The Detroit Tigers star launched a changeup by Toronto Blue Jays pitcher Steven Matz over the right-field fence at Rogers Centre for a solo homer that tied the game 1-1 in the sixth inning. The Tigers would go on to win 5-3 in 11 innings. 

That result was important to Cabrera after spending the 11 days since he hit his 499th home run with the spotlight squarely on him. 

Known for his easygoing on-field personality, Cabrera acknowledged feeling the pressure during last week's six-game homestand against the Cleveland Indians and the Los Angeles Angels, which drew some of the largest crowds in Detroit this season.

Cabrera had four hits in 20 at-bats on the homestand and was hitless in 10 at-bats in three games in Toronto before going deep Sunday.

"Last week in Detroit was tough," Cabrera told reporters. "It was the first time in five, six years I've seen the crowd like that, excited and with a lot of energy. It was nice to see the energy back in Comerica Park.

"There was a lot of things going on in my mind, because I wanted to do it in Detroit. But it's tough to hit home runs there.

"I just have to thank God I hit it here and got it over with. Now I can try to keep playing baseball."

The 38-year-old became the first player from Venezuela to hit 500 home runs and the first to do so as a Tiger in the 120-year history of the franchise. 

An 11-time All-Star and two-time American League MVP, Cabrera is in his 14th season with Detroit after spending the first five years of his MLB career with the Marlins. 

Though Cabrera reached the milestone on the road, the fans in Toronto were appreciative, giving him a standing ovation and demanding a curtain call.

The Tigers also were thrilled to see the icon get over the hump. 

"He wants this for us as much as we wanted it for him," said manager A.J. Hinch. "He saw the stress around that was unspoken.

"It's a huge accomplishment for him and his country and what he's meant to baseball in Detroit and what he's meant to baseball in Miami, where he started his career, and obviously Team Venezuela. He's represented his country with extreme success on the field."

Cabrera is now four home runs from tying Hall of Famer Eddie Murray for 27th on the all-time list, but that is not the only milestone in his sights. 

He needs just 45 hits to reach 3,000 for his career. Only six players in MLB history have hit 500 homers while accumulating 3,000 hits: Murray, Hank Aaron, Willie Mays, Alex Rodriguez, Rafael Palmeiro and Albert Pujols. 

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