Carlos Pena wants his trip down to the minors earlier this season to be his last.
Pena, who broke into the big leagues in 2001 as a first baseman with Texas, spent the better part of the previous three seasons as the Tigers’ regular first baseman. However, the lefty-hitting Dominican began this year in a serious slide, hitting just .181 in May, before the Tigers sent him down to Triple-A Toledo.
Pena finally worked his way back to the big league club, getting recalled Wednesday and filling in for Magglio Ordonez (flu) on Friday. He wasted little time making his presence felt, hitting two long homers and driving in three runs as the Tigers won the series opener 9-5.
“It was satisfying to be able to help the team,” Pena said. “And to come back and share a win with these guys is awesome.”
Dmitri Young, Chris Shelton and Ivan Rodriguez also connected as Detroit hit a season-high five homers to win for the fifth time in six games. Young and Shelton each drove in two runs, but Pena was the story after launching a 438-foot solo shot in the second inning and a 433-footer in the fifth.
“It was a nice win,” Tigers manager Alan Trammell said. “First of all for the team and secondly for Carlos Pena.”
“We didn’t pitch very good tonight,” Toronto manager John Gibbons said. “You’ve got to pitch good against this team, they can swing it.”