Infante's two homers carry Tigers

The SportsXchange

DETROIT -- Removing the game's best hitter from the Detroit Tigers' lineup still doesn't slow down their attack.

They didn't have Miguel Cabrera on Saturday, but another infielder, Omar Infante, filled the power void. Infante homered twice and drove in five runs to carry the Detroit Tigers to a 10-5 victory over the slumping Cleveland Indians at Comerica Park.

Detroit leads the majors with 699 runs scored and a 5.1 per-game average. Its deep lineup has consistently buried the Indians, their closest rival in the American League Central. The Tigers, who moved 8 1/2 games ahead in the division while handing Cleveland its fifth straight defeat, are 15-3 against the Indians this season.

Cabrera missed the game with a nagging abdominal injury, but the Tigers are 9-1 in games he hasn't started.

"With that lineup, even with Miggy not in it, you can see they do some damage when they get into hitters counts," Cleveland manager Terry Francona said.

Infante hit a three-run homer in the second inning and a two-run shot in the sixth. The latter bounced off the glove of left fielder Michael Brantley and caromed into the Indians' bullpen. Infante's eighth career multi-homer game put the Tigers on top 6-2.

"I thought he caught the ball," Infante said. "He was very close to catching the ball. I'm lucky. It was a lucky day, a good day for me."

Infante has enjoyed quite a few good days lately. He's batting .352 with three homers and 11 RBIs in 18 games since missing 33 games with a badly sprained ankle.

"I feel very comfortable. My ankle feels normal," he said. "I'm 100 percent and I'm feeling more comfortable at the plate."

Anibal Sanchez (12-7) gave up three runs in 6 2/3 innings while striking out five to notch the victory.

Carlos Santana had a two-run, inside-the-park homer in the eighth to cut Cleveland's deficit to 6-5. Center fielder Austin Jackson collided with the wall trying to haul in Santana's long ball.

"The fact that Jackson actually got to the ball shows how good of an outfielder he is," Francona said. "That ball was crushed and he went a long way. Brantley did, too, and he almost caught (Infante's) ball."

Jackson injured his right shoulder but not only stayed in the game, he ripped a two-run triple during a four-run eighth gave the Tigers some insurance.

"It was a little scary to say the least," Tigers manager Jim Leyland said. "I was concerned about a separated shoulder when I saw him."

Francona used three relievers in the eighth but couldn't hold off another Tigers outburst. Starter Scott Kazmir (7-7), who have up four runs in five innings, took the loss.

"They just kept coming at us," Francona said. "We fought back, which was really good to see. But they kept coming and we couldn't keep them from scoring."

NOTES: Cabrera is listed as day to day and the team doesn't have plans to rest him for an extended period, even though he has been hobbled for weeks by abdominal, hip and groin injuries. "Our primary concern with Miguel Cabrera is making sure he's healthy," general manager Dave Dombrowski said. "If the doc tells us he's going to be in a position where he'll get worse by playing, we will not play him. But nobody has ever said to us that shutting him down for an extended period will make him better." ... Detroit made moves to set up its postseason roster, recalling LHP Phil Coke and 2B Hernan Perez to make them eligible for the playoffs. Coke is 0-5 with a 5.00 ERA with Detroit this season, and Perez is batting .214 with five RBI. The Tigers optioned RHP Jeremy Bonderman to Triple-A Toledo and RHP Luke Putkonen to Class A Lakeland, but both will return to the majors by Tuesday. Bonderman was 1-1 with a 2.51 ERA since joining the Tigers in early August. Putkonen had a 1-1 record and 2.78 ERA. ... OF Jason Kubel, traded Friday from Arizona to Cleveland for a player to be named, joined the club. Francona said it's likely Kubel will start Sunday either as the DH or in the outfield. "The hope is he can help us," Francona said of Kubel, who hit .220 with five homers and 32 RBIs with Diamondbacks this season. "This is a veteran guy who is one year removed from a lot of production." ... Detroit's 15 wins over Cleveland are the most over the Indians since 1960.
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