DETROIT (AP) - Jordan Zimmermann and Miguel Cabrera helped Detroit to a comfortable lead — then they both had to leave with injuries.
Zimmermann exited in the sixth a strained groin, and Cabrera was taken out the following inning with a bruised knee. The Tigers were able to hold on without them for a 9-4 victory over the Tampa Bay Rays on Sunday, but health concerns for two key players dominated the postgame talk. Manager Brad Ausmus said Zimmermann was having an MRI.
"We're going to hold off on anything concerning Zimm until we get a diagnosis," Ausmus said. "You certainly don't want to see the guy who has been your best pitcher all year get injured, but we'll reserve judgment until we find out exactly what it is. We know it's the groin, but we don't know how severe."
Cabrera and Victor Martinez homered for the Tigers. Zimmermann (7-2) allowed two runs and five hits in 5 2/3 innings — this was the first start all year in which he didn't make it through six.
Cabrera left with a left knee bruise after being hit by a pitch in the seventh.
"I don't expect Miggy's to be anything serious," Ausmus said. "He got hit right on a nerve that sent a little pain from his knee down his leg. The level of concern there is much lower than with Zimm."
With an 0-1 count on Steve Pearce in the sixth, players gathered around Zimmermann at the mound, and trainer Kevin Rand went out to talk to him. Zimmermann was replaced by Drew VerHagen, and the Tigers later announced that their starter had a right groin strain.
Rand was back on the field the following inning after Cabrera was hit by Dana Eveland's pitch while leading off the bottom of the seventh. The Detroit slugger hobbled around a bit and initially went to first to stay in the game. He was removed for a pinch runner moments later.
Logan Morrison and Tim Beckham homered for Tampa Bay, but that wasn't enough to overcome a poor outing by Chris Archer (3-5). J.D. Martinez hit an RBI double in the first and scored on Cabrera's single. After Morrison tied it with a two-run homer in the second, the Tigers scored again on an RBI triple by Andrew Romine.
"Really good approaches by the Tigers," Tampa Bay manager Kevin Cash said. "The first inning they came up, they didn't miss too many balls, they barreled up a bunch."
Cabrera led off the bottom of the third with a homer to center, and Cameron Maybin's two-run single made it 6-2.
Archer allowed six runs and eight hits in three innings.
Beckham hit a two-run homer in the seventh, but Eveland walked Maybin with the bases loaded in the bottom half to make it 7-4.
Victor Martinez added a two-run homer in the eighth.
ON A ROLL
Maybin's season didn't begin until Monday, when he came back from a wrist injury. Since then, he's 12 for 20 with a homer, five RBIs, five runs and four steals.
He also made a sparkling catch while hitting the wall in center Sunday on a drive by Pearce in the second.
"He's a very positive guy and uplifting," J.D. Martinez said. "Obviously, he's hitting what he's hitting, but just having that kind of guy in this clubhouse and back on the team I think definitely gave us a little extra — just knowing how to have fun again."
Detroit's Ian Kinsler and Tampa Bay's Evan Longoria extended hitting streaks to 10 games.
Rays: Tampa Bay put OF Kevin Kiermaier (broken left hand) on the 15-day disabled list after he was hurt diving for a flyball Saturday. The Rays recalled OF Mikie Mahtook from Triple-A Durham.
Rays: Tampa Bay plays its next four games against the Marlins, the first two at Miami. Matt Moore (1-3) starts for the Rays on Monday night against Wei-Yin Chen (3-2).
Tigers: Detroit opens a three-game series against Philadelphia on Monday night. Mike Pelfrey (0-4) takes the mound for the Tigers against Vince Velasquez (5-1). The Tigers optioned VerHagen to Triple-A Toledo after Sunday's game. They plan to recall right-hander Buck Farmer from Toledo before Monday's game.