Prior to this home run, Cabrera was 4-for-17 in the series without an extra-base hit. He couldn't have picked a better time to get his stroke back, however. Gray was looking strong through the first three innings and the stress was starting to weigh on Detroit GM Dave Dombrowski.
As it turned out, Dombrowski was all worked up over nothing. A 2-0 lead would be more than enough for Justin Verlander on this night. Nothing was going to stop the former Cy Young and MVP winner from getting the win. And we know this because the Oakland fans tried everything.
When plump-belly-dancer guy didn't work, the crowd thew in the towel, many towels actually:
The Athletics hitters had so little success chasing Verlander's pitches in and around the strike zone, they eventually adopted a new cricket-based plate approach, which almost worked out.
Regardless of their approach, Verlander was just too much for the Athletics. He carried a perfect game into the sixth inning when Josh Reddick finally drew a walk. Yoenis Cepedes broke up Verlander's no-hitter in the seventh and Reddick reached base again in the eighth, but that would be all the offense the Tigers' ace would allow. He finished with eight innings pitched, no runs, two hits, one walk and 10 strike outs before handing the ball over to Joaquin Benoit for
a shot at giving Dave Dombrowsk a nervous breakdown the save.
Benoit allowed the tying run to come to the plate with two outs before getting Seth Smith on a fly ball to secure the win. Manager Jim Leyland had no choice but to use Benoit in the ninth because the Tigers closer was in charge of signaling the start of the Tigers flash-mob dance routine.
Unfortunately, he could hold off long enough for Victor Martinez to make it back to the bathroom in time.
While the Tigers were off celebrating their victory, Oakland Athletics manager Bob Melvin's mighty heart was breaking.
The Athletics played a fantastic series and pressed the Tigers to the final out, but in the end, they came up short. There was no champagne celebration for them after this game, but maybe that isn't really the worst thing in the world (per @cjzero):
That's why you always keep the goggles on!