Fielder, Cabrera hit 2 HRs each in rout of Boston

Posted April 07, 2012, at 9 p.m.
Boston Red Sox starter Josh Beckett, right, gives up the baseball to manager Bobby Valentine, left, as catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia looks on in the fifth inning of a baseball game Saturday, April 7, 2012, in Detroit. Beckett was relieved after giving up back-to-back home runs to Detroit's Miguel Cabrera and Prince Fielder.
Duane Burleson | AP
Boston Red Sox starter Josh Beckett, right, gives up the baseball to manager Bobby Valentine, left, as catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia looks on in the fifth inning of a baseball game Saturday, April 7, 2012, in Detroit. Beckett was relieved after giving up back-to-back home runs to Detroit's Miguel Cabrera and Prince Fielder.

DETROIT — Prince Fielder stood in front of his locker discussing his first two home runs as a Detroit Tiger.

Then Miguel Cabrera — who had just finished reviewing his own two-homer game — walked past.

“Pow!” Cabrera said playfully. “One, two, three, pow!”

Detroit’s potent slugging tandem is already finding its groove.

Fielder and Cabrera hit two homers apiece and Alex Avila added another off Josh Beckett in the Tigers’ 10-0 rout of the Boston Red Sox on Saturday.

Detroit entered the season as a favorite in the AL Central, and after two games the Tigers are performing pretty much as planned. Ace Justin Verlander was marvelous in Thursday’s opener, and Cabrera and Fielder overwhelmed the Red Sox two days later.

“So far everything’s good. We’re 2-0,” Fielder said. “Hopefully we’ll just keep working hard and keep it going. We’re not going to go 162-0 I don’t think.”

Fielder signed a $214 million, nine-year deal with Detroit in the offseason, adding another big bat to a lineup that already included Cabrera. Beckett (0-1) was no match Saturday. Cabrera opened the scoring in the first inning with a two-run shot to left-center, and Fielder added a solo homer in the fourth to the same part of the ballpark.

Cabrera and Fielder then hit back-to-back solo homers in the fifth.

“I’m just trying to get better and just watch him,” Fielder said. “He’s aggressive yet he still walks. That’s not easy to do. … Hopefully I can be as good as him when I grow up.”

Duane Below (1-0) got the win in relief after Detroit starter Doug Fister left in the fourth with a strain in his left side. Fister will go on the 15-day disabled list Sunday.

Avila hit a two-run homer for the Tigers.

It was the 21st multihomer game for Cabrera and the 23rd for Fielder, and the Tigers certainly hope it’s a sign of things to come. Cabrera even showed off some impressive reflexes at third base, where he moved this season to make room for Fielder at first. Cabrera lunged to his left to make a diving catch of Jarrod Saltalamacchia’s line drive in the fifth.

“That was a nice play. Did you see that?” Cabrera said. “Everybody was surprised.”

Cabrera’s second homer — in the bottom of that inning — was originally ruled a double when it appeared the ball may have taken an odd bounce under the fence in left-center after hitting it near the top. After a review, the umpires ruled the ball cleared the top.

There was no doubt about Fielder’s second shot, a line drive over the wall in right that made it 7-0.

Beckett went to Cleveland earlier in the week to get a second opinion on a thumb injury, but he made his start as scheduled. He allowed seven runs and seven hits in 4 2-3 innings, and the five homers he gave up equaled a career high.

Beckett said the thumb wasn’t an issue.

“Too many pitches in the middle of the plate. They hit a changeup, a cutter, two sinkers and a fastball, and every one was down the middle of the plate,” he said. “Everything I threw hard went down the middle, and Fielder even hit a changeup that went down the middle.”

Fister was much sharper, allowing three hits and a walk and striking out three in 3 2-3 innings, but he had to be pulled because of his injury. Below, who nearly won a job as Detroit’s fifth starter during spring training, came in and allowed one hit in 2 1-3 innings.

Octavio Dotel relieved Below and set a record by appearing in a game for his 13th franchise. Dotel signed with the Tigers after helping St. Louis to a World Series title last year.

Boston manager Bobby Valentine was managing the Mets when Dotel began his career with them in 1999.

“I guess I was his first team, right?” Valentine said. “I credit it to a lot of great sliders and staying healthy for a long time.”

Austin Jackson, whose ninth-inning single gave Detroit a 3-2 win over Boston on Thursday, drove home a run with a sixth-inning grounder. Detroit scored two more in the seventh after Saltalamacchia — the Boston catcher — threw wildly to first on what could have been an inning-ending double play.

NOTES: Valentine said OF Carl Crawford, who is recovering from left wrist surgery, is expected to play in extended spring games soon. “It’s imminent,” Valentine said. … Beckett also allowed five homers in an 8-4 loss to the New York Yankees on Aug. 23, 2009. … Attendance was 44,710, the largest for Detroit’s second home game of the season since at least 1947. … Cabrera’s first homer was estimated at 412 feet. … Detroit RHP Max Scherzer faces Boston RHP Clay Buchholz on Sunday. … Fielder was hit by a pitch in the seventh. He needs one more hit for 1,000. … The Red Sox sent LHPs Rich Hill (Tommy John surgery) and Andrew Miller (left hamstring strain) to Class A Greenville on rehab assignments.

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