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Cabrera's bat comes alive in Tigers' 8-6 win

The SportsXchange

DETROIT -- No one in the Detroit Tigers' clubhouse was worried about first baseman Miguel Cabrera's early season slump. On Tuesday night, Cabrera finally hit like everyone expects from the reigning two-time American League Most Valuable Player.

Cabrera smacked three hits and drove in three runs, including his second home run this season, and the Tigers hung on for an 8-6 victory over the Chicago White Sox at Comerica Park.

Cabrera was batting .206 with seven RBIs entering the game before his third multi-hit outing. His average rose to .235 and so did the spirits of his teammates.

"I really don't think anyone was worried about it," said Tigers second baseman Ian Kinsler, who doubled twice, scored two runs and knocked in two.

"It's nice for everyone to see it from him, everyone else (outside the team). I don't think he was too concerned with it. He knows he's going to have his at-bats and he's going to get going and things are going to fall into place."

Cabrera had two long flyouts to the opposite field while going hitless in four at-bats on Monday. His opposite-field approach was rewarded Tuesday night when he ripped a double and a two-run homer in his first two at-bats. He added a single to center in the eighth.

He was not the only Tigers hitter in a groove. Detroit pounded White Sox pitching for 15 hits. That included a season-high eight extra-base hits in the second game of the four-game series. Another struggling hitter, catcher Alex Avila, had three hits and an RBI.

"It's nice," Cabrera said. "That's what we want to do, go out there and try to do our job."

Detroit starter Justin Verlander (3-1) picked up his third consecutive victory, allowing two runs and eight hits while striking out seven. The Tigers built an 8-1 lead through five innings.

"Once he gets a lead like that, he kind of goes into power-save mode," White Sox manager Robin Ventura said. "He wasn't really cranking it up and letting it fly. He was controlling with off-speed stuff and getting guys out front. He wasn't reaching back trying to blow anybody away, he trying to conserve, which is smart."

The White Sox scored three ninth-inning runs to make things interesting. Designated hitter Adam Dunn hit a two-run homer off reliever Phil Coke to make it a two-run game. Joba Chamberlain relieved Coke and walked a batter, then secured the final out for his first save.

Chicago starter Charlie Leesman (0-1) lasted just 2 2/3 innings, allowing six runs and nine hits. Leesman was recalled from Triple-A Charlotte on Monday night after ace left-hander Chris Sale went on the 15-day disabled list with a flexor muscle strain.

"You'd like to see him go a little bit further, but they hit him around pretty good," Ventura said. "The bullpen did a nice job of coming in and calming things down."

First baseman Jose Abreu hit his sixth home run, a solo shot to center field, and right fielder Dayan Viciedo added four hits for the White Sox.

Cabrera tied the score at 1 with a one-out double in the first inning to bring home Kinsler, who also doubled. Cabrera hit a two-run homer in his next at-bat during part of a five-run third as the Tigers sent 10 men to the plate and moved ahead 6-1.

Kinsler drove in the first two runs with a double down the left-field line. Cabrera then smashed a liner that just snuck over the 365-foot mark on the right-center field wall. Third baseman Nick Castellanos added a sacrifice fly.

Run-scoring doubles by Avila and Rajai Davis in the fifth made it 8-1.

"We haven't had a big inning like that very often," Tigers manager Brad Ausmus said. "It was enough. Barely, but it was enough."

NOTES: Chicago 3B Conor Gillaspie missed the game because of a swollen left hand. ... White Sox LHP Charlie Leesman made one previous career start in the majors, a five-inning no-decision against Minnesota on Aug. 9 last season. ... Detroit CF Austin Jackson did not start for the first time this season. Manager Brad Ausmus said he wanted to give Jackson a rest and that he will return to the lineup on Wednesday. ... White Sox SS Alexei Ramirez hit safely in 19 of his first 20 games. ... Detroit has a 6-1 record when scoring five or more runs. ... The Tigers' rotation has a 2.99 ERA, second best in the American League.
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