Road-weary Braves drop fourth straight
Apr 29, 2013 at 1:18 AM
DETROIT — The Atlanta Braves began the month with 12 wins in their first 13 games.They're approaching the end of it looking worn down after too many tough series on the road.Miguel Cabrera's three-run homer in the seventh inning broke open the game, and the Detroit Tigers finished off a three-game sweep of the Braves with an 8-3 victory Sunday night. Atlanta has lost four straight and is 3-8 since that 12-1 start."It was a tough road trip. You can tell it wore on us," Atlanta's Dan Uggla said. "Not taking anything away from them. They batted great and got good pitching all three days."The Braves have played only two home games since April 7. Their latest 11-game trip included games against Pittsburgh, Colorado and Detroit — all teams that are hovering around the top of their divisions.The NL East-leading Braves will be back home Monday night. They lead the division by 2½ games over Washington going into a four-game series against the Nationals.Austin Jackson and Omar Infante also homered for the Tigers, and Doug Fister (4-0) struck out eight in seven innings on a rainy night at Comerica Park. Mike Minor (3-2) allowed a three-run homer to Jackson in the third, and although the Braves came back to tie it, Cabrera doubled and scored in the sixth to make it 4-3.Infante hit a solo shot in the seventh, and Cabrera added an opposite-field homer on a 3-0 fastball by reliever Cory Gearrin."He's the best I've ever seen, opposite-field power," Detroit manager Jim Leyland said. "A lot guys just don't like to swing 3-0. I think they get caught where they don't want to swing at a bad pitch. I think they get leery of it. ... I've given the green light more in Detroit than any time I've ever managed in my life, but most guys don't swing."Cabrera extended his hitting streak to 12 games.Detroit won the three games in this series by a combined 25-7. Anibal Sanchez set a franchise record Friday with 17 strikeouts, and it looked as if Fister might approach that Sunday when he fanned five in the first two innings.Atlanta manager Fredi Gonzalez shuffled his lineup before the game, giving struggling outfielder B.J. Upton the night off. It didn't matter much. Aside from a three-run fourth, the Braves were quiet offensively, and Minor gave up six runs in 6 2-3 innings.Jackson came to the plate with two on in the third and opened the scoring with a drive that cleared the fence and the bullpen in left-center.The Braves tied it the following inning. Chris Johnson hit an RBI double, and Evan Gattis drove in a run with a single to make it 3-2.With men on first and third and one out, Uggla hit what looked like a double play grounder, but Infante's relay from second to first was a bit wide, and the Tigers got only one out on the play, allowing the tying run to score.Victor Martinez's sacrifice fly scored Cabrera to put Detroit ahead in the sixth. Minor got the first two outs of the seventh, but Infante hit his second homer in two days, and Jackson drew a walk to end Minor's night.Gearrin allowed Torii Hunter's single and Cabrera's opposite-field drive — the third home run of the year for the Triple Crown winner."He hits the ball over the right-field fence like a left-handed pull hitter," Gonzalez said.Fister, making his 100th career start, allowed three runs and six hits with no walks.Minor allowed six hits, walked two and struck out six.