NEW YORK -- Miguel Cabrera was earning comparisons to Rocky for his at-bat against Mariano Rivera on Friday night.
"I kiddingly said to [bench coach] Gene Lamont: 'If he hits one here, he's the greatest of all time,'" manager Jim Leyland said. "I just shook my head. I couldn't believe it."
A day later and back in the Tigers lineup, Cabrera was earning comparisons to something more like the Terminator.
"That guy, he's amazing," Alex Rodriguez said Saturday morning. "That was a joke. Everyone thought he was dead. It was like the movies, you've got to shoot him to make sure he's dead. I knew he wasn't coming out of the game. I said, 'Don't fall for that bait of limping around.' He's a dangerous guy."
Though Leyland waited until he could check on Cabrera before putting out a lineup, few were falling for the possibility that he would sit Saturday morning, either.
Cabrera had a large bandage on his left shin, where he fouled off one of those Rivera pitches in the ninth, but his knee wasn't wrapped. His knee, which he was clutching Friday night, wasn't wrapped, and he was moving around without any obvious trouble.
Meanwhile, Cabrera continues to play through the abdominal strain that has limited his mobility for more than a month.
"He's been banged up a little bit anyway, so he hasn't been moving really good," Leyland said.
Other than Prince Fielder and Victor Martinez switching spots, a move that was already planned a few days ago, the only changes in the Tigers' lineup came in the supporting cast. Don Kelly started in left field over Andy Dirks, and Alex Avila returned to catch after leaving Thursday's game with concussion-like symptoms.
With handle on timing, Jackson in hitting groove
NEW YORK -- Austin Jackson credited an adjustment at the plate and better timing on his reaction to pitches for his recent hitting. Friday's 4-for-6, three-double performance was his third consecutive multihit effort.
He entered Saturday with eight hits over the past three days, six of them for extra bases. He has been pulling the ball into the gap in left-center field with more consistency, allowing him to take advantage of his speed.
"When your timing's off, everything's out of whack, really," Jackson said. "You're trying to fix other things and not seeing the ball as well, not on time for pitches -- you're up there guessing a lot instead of just being ready to hit."
The difference is big. Just a few days ago, manager Jim Leyland was talking about giving Jackson a game off and letting him take a rest and clear his head. That's not going to happen while he's hitting like this.
"He had a heckuva night, obviously," Leyland said.
Scherzer acknowledges role in first ejection
NEW YORK -- Max Scherzer can carry on a clubhouse debate as well as anybody on the Tigers. He can even give Justin Verlander a good back and forth. Despite that, he had never said anything to earn an ejection until Friday night, when home-plate umpire Will Little tossed him for arguing a called third strike on Torii Hunter in the seventh inning.
Scherzer owned up to it. He wasn't the only one chirping about the call, he said, but he admitted, "I was the one who spoke last."
Scherzer wasn't in the game. He was tossed from the dugout. He's hardly the first Tigers pitcher to suffer that fate. Rick Porcello was ejected from the dugout two years ago against the Angels. Jeremy Bonderman had it happen more than once during his previous Tigers tenure.
Normally, those ejections lead to a minor fine from Major League Baseball, but nothing more.