OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) Miguel Cabrera came out for early batting practice hoping to find the key to getting out of a bad slump. Moving his hands down just a bit ended up doing the trick.
Cabrera got two of his four hits in Detroit's eight-run third inning and the Tigers went on to beat the Oakland Athletics 10-6 on Thursday night.
''My swing was not functioning,'' Cabrera said. ''Last month and this month we tried to figure out what was going on. Hopefully, we figured it out.''
Cabrera, who came into the game hitless in his previous 14 at-bats, had an RBI double and a run-scoring single in the big third inning. He also had an RBI single in the fifth.
Cabrera was one of four players who came out for early batting practice for the Tigers, held to three runs or fewer in four of the past five games. Manager Jim Leyland said before the game he thought the tinkering of the hands would help the slugger find his stroke.
Cabrera proved his manager right, delivering his first four-hit game since May 30, 2010, against Oakland, raising his average from .263 to .285.
''It was important,'' Leyland said. ''Hopefully, it will loosen some guys up a little bit. Hopefully, we can get on a little bit of a roll offensively. Those guys who came out today and hit a little extra did well today.''
Alex Avila added a two-run double in the third and Delmon Young, Brennan Boesch and Ramon Santiago also had run-scoring hits in the inning as the Tigers knocked out Bartolo Colon (3-3) early in their highest-scoring game since putting up 13 runs against Boston in the third game of the season. Andy Dirks added four hits and a homer on the night to help Detroit match a season high with 17 hits.
''One night doesn't mean we're out of our offensive woes, but that's a good sign for us,'' Leyland said. ''It does get contagious. I do believe in that. A couple of guys start swinging and then all of a sudden more guys start swinging.''
Max Scherzer (2-3) was the beneficiary of the big night from the struggling Tigers batters, allowing two runs and five hits with nine strikeouts in 6 1-3 innings to end a three-start winless streak. He allowed only a two-run homer to Kila Ka'aihue in the second.
The one bright spot for Oakland came in the eighth inning when former Tiger Brandon Inge hit his second grand slam of the week off Colin Balester. Inge, who came up with Detroit in 2001, was released by the Tigers last month and signed with the A's. Inge joined Jimmie Foxx (1932) as the only A's players to hit two slams in a three-game span.
''In this game of baseball you take your ups and downs and just kind of go with it and try to stay level-headed the whole time,'' Inge said. ''Honestly, by no means am I trying to hit grand slams. It just happens sometimes. I'm just trying to have fun. That's what kind of usually makes things go your way. This group of guys makes it easy.''
It wasn't enough for Oakland because of Detroit's big third inning. Austin Jackson and Dirks started it with singles and Cabrera followed with an RBI double to right field. Prince Fielder then reached on an error by Ka'aihue at first base as another run scored. Young hit an RBI single and Avila's two-run double made it 6-2.
Colon got his first out of the inning when Ryan Raburn flied out but Boesch followed with an RBI double that chased Colon. Santiago greeted Jordan Norberto with an RBI single and Cabrera capped the outburst with his RBI single.
Colon allowed eight runs - seven earned - and nine hits in 2 1-3 innings as his problems against the Tigers continued. Colon is 0-7 in his last 12 games against Detroit with a 7.67 ERA.
''He was in the middle of the plate a lot and usually he's not,'' manager Bob Melvin said. ''Usually he's on the corners, you know, starting off and actually running to the corners. That's what it looked like to me. It just looked like they were a lot of good swings that you don't normally see off of him.''
NOTES: Colon last beat the Tigers on April 13, 2003, when he was with the Chicago White Sox. ... Oakland RHP Brandon McCarthy, who missed Tuesday's start with a sore shoulder, said he had no concerns after a bullpen session and is on target to start Saturday. ... Melvin said he was encouraged by how OF Yoenis Cespedes (left hand) felt after hitting off a tee and taking soft toss and that Cespedes could be back in the lineup Saturday. ... Tommy Milone (4-2) will take the mound Friday for Oakland against Detroit's Rick Porcello (3-2).
- Miguel Cabrera
- Oakland Athletics
- Bartolo Colon