ANAHEIM, Calif. — Miguel Cabrera gave Brian Fuentes a rude welcome back from the disabled list with a tying leadoff home run in the ninth inning and Ramon Santiago hit an RBI single four batters later, helping the Detroit Tigers beat the Los Angeles Angels 4-3 on Wednesday night.
Fuentes, just off the disabled list after missing 14 games with a back strain, went 3-2 on Cabrera before the Tigers’ cleanup hitter homered to left-center. It was his fourth home run of the season and team-high 18th RBI.
Fuentes (0-1) walked Carlos Guillen and struck out Dan Kelly, who hit his first major league homer in the fifth. Guillen stole second before a walk to Gerald Laird, who pinch-hit for Alex Avila. Guillen was retired in a rundown after getting picked off by Fuentes, but Santiago sent an 0-2 pitch into left field to score Laird.
Fuentes, who led the majors last season with a career-high 48 saves, pitched for the first time since getting a save in the Angels’ season opener against Minnesota. Former Tigers closer Fernando Rodney had filled in for him the past two weeks, converting all five save opportunities.
Phil Coke (2-0) got the win with a scoreless eighth inning and Jose Valverde pitched a perfect ninth for his fourth save in five attempts.
Jered Weaver allowed two runs and six hits over seven innings, striking out six and walking two. The Tigers got their other run on Guillen’s RBI single in the sixth.
Weaver escaped a bases-loaded jam after Kelly’s homer, as Johnny Damon took a borderline pitch on the inside corner for strike three and was ejected by crew chief Dale Scott for arguing about it.
The usually mild-mannered Damon also had two umpires calls go against him in the Tigers’ 6-5 loss on Tuesday night. Damon was called out by Scott in the fifth inning on a grounder that second baseman Howie Kendrick fielded on the outfield grass, but TV replays showed that Damon was safe. Two innings later, with the potential tying and go-ahead runs in scoring position, umpire Dan Iassogna called him out on a called third strike that appeared to be under the knees.
Jeremy Bonderman gave up three first-inning runs and held the Angels to one hit over the next five — a bunt single by Erick Aybar leading off the third. Only two other batters reached base against Bonderman during that stretch, Mike Napoli on Kelly’s throwing error at third base, and Torii Hunter on a fielding error by Bonderman in the sixth.
Bonderman walked two batters in the first, and both of them scored — Aybar on a single by Bobby Abreu after he stole second, and Hideki Matsui on Kendry Morales’ fourth homer. Abreu was erased on a double-play grounder by Hunter.
NOTES: Six of the eight batters Bonderman has walked in his first three starts have scored, and one of those walks came with the bases loaded. … Tigers CF and leadoff hitter Austin Jackson struck out three times for the second consecutive night, and has fanned at least once in each of his first 14 major league games — a major league record from the start of a career. The previous mark was 11. Jackson, who leads all rookies with 19 hits, has struck out 23 times in 61 at-bats overall. … The Tigers have yet to score a run in the second inning. Last season they had more runs in the second than they did in any other inning (94).