The AL’s top hitter hopes to stay hot Monday as the Tigers look to win their first series in almost a month when they conclude a four-game home set with the Oakland Athletics.
Ordonez went 2-for-3 with four RBIs and homered twice in an eight-run second inning during Detroit’s 11-6 win over Oakland on Sunday. The victory gave the Tigers a one-half game division lead over Cleveland, which has lost three consecutive contests.
“The biggest part about it is, it was a huge factor in us winning the game,” Tigers manager Jim Leyland said of Ordonez’s homers.
Detroit (65-52), which is 8-16 since sweeping Minnesota from July 17-19 for its most recent series win, is atop the Central for the first time since Aug. 2.
The Tigers are also trying to win three in a row for the first time since a four-game run which included the sweep of the Twins.
“We’re going to be OK,” Ordonez said. “We’re still a good team.”
Ordonez, who joined Al Kaline as the only Tigers to homer twice in the same inning, leads the AL with a .357 average and is 8-for-12 with three homers and eight RBIs in the first three games of this series. He is also hitting .455 (10-for-22) against the A’s this season, but is 0-for-4 lifetime versus Oakland starter Chad Gaudin.
Gaudin (8-8, 4.18 ERA) will try to avoid his sixth straight loss when he takes the mound Monday. He allowed seven runs and eight hits in five innings of an 8-6 loss at Texas on Tuesday to fall to 0-5 with an 8.54 ERA in six starts since the All-Star break.
The right-hander was 6-1 with a 2.85 ERA in his first 14 starts, but is 2-7 with a 6.00 ERA in his last 10.
“I feel strong, as good as the first day of the season,” said Gaudin, who has thrown a career-high 142 innings in 2007. “You can say it’s been tough and hard, but it happens in baseball. Sometimes things don’t go your way. You’ve got to go through the bad times.”
Detroit will counter with Chad Durbin (7-4, 4.44 ERA). Durbin allowed three runs and six hits in 4 1-3 innings of a 7-1 loss to Tampa Bay on Wednesday, his first start since June 19. He’d worked out of the bullpen in the interim.
The right-hander, who is 6-4 in 15 games as starter, is 2-2 with a 6.82 ERA in eight career games - six starts - against Oakland.
Marco Scutaro went 3-for-4 with a homer and four RBIs on Sunday for Oakland (56-62), which has been outscored 16-8 in the last two games of the series after winning Friday’s opener 16-10.
Oakland could be without Nick Swisher and Mark Kotsay on Monday. Swisher left Sunday’s game with a sore hamstring, while Kotsay departed with a stiff back. Manager Bob Geren doesn’t expect either player to miss significant time.