Tigers-Athletics Preview

The Associated Press

The Detroit Tigers could be having second thoughts about their decision to let Brandon Inge go.

The Oakland Athletics are surely happy with the Tigers' decision.

Inge looks to continue his recent tear at the plate for Oakland as the Athletics and visiting Tigers continue their four-game set Saturday night.

After going 2 for 20 in nine games for the Tigers (16-16), Inge was released April 26 - ending a run of 11-plus seasons in Detroit. It hasn't taken the veteran third baseman much time to make his presence felt in Oakland (17-16).

Inge came up huge again during Friday's 11-4 win against his former team, homering for the fourth time in five games. He's batting .350 with 16 RBIs over that stretch, driving in four on four separate occasions.

"He's really swinging well right now. He's got a second wind, and it's a good thing obviously for him," Tigers manager Jim Leyland said. "He's swinging the bat as good as I've seen him swing it for a while. He's in a pretty good groove right now."

Josh Reddick is also locked in at the plate for Oakland, which has won six of nine this month. He went 4 for 4 with a pair of homers and a career-high five RBIs on Friday and is batting .362 with six long balls and 16 RBIs in his last 14 games.

Oakland will give the ball Saturday to Brandon McCarthy (2-3, 2.96 ERA), who was originally scheduled to start earlier in the week before getting pushed back due to soreness in his throwing shoulder.

"I didn't feel anything (during Thursday's bullpen session)," he told the team's official website. "I felt fine, and it's really not a concern at this point. I wasn't mentally hung up, wasn't worried about it. I pretty much knew what to expect, and unless something unexpected happened, I wasn't going to be surprised. It went the way I wanted it to, and it just leaves me perfectly on course for Saturday."

The right-hander is looking to win a third consecutive start after yielding one run and five hits over 6 2-3 innings of a 4-2 victory at Boston on May 2.

McCarthy has compiled a 2.25 ERA in his last five home outings dating to September, but has an 0-2 record to show for it as he's received an average of 2.53 runs in support.

McCarthy went 1-0 with a 2.41 ERA in three starts against the Tigers in 2011.

Detroit looks to move back above .500 behind Doug Fister (0-0, 0.00), who impressed in his first start since returning from a left rib strain suffered in his season debut April 7. The right-hander allowed four hits over seven scoreless innings of Monday's 3-2 loss at Seattle.

"He was fantastic (Monday)," catcher Alex Avila told the Tigers' official website. "It was a lot of fun to catch him. He threw great."

Fister threw just 73 pitches against the Mariners but could be allowed to go deeper into this game.

He is 5-3 with a 2.55 ERA in 10 career starts against the A's, allowing two earned runs or fewer in nine of those outings. Fister threw eight innings of one-run ball in his last start at Oakland, a 3-1 victory Sept. 16.

Inge is 3 for 7 with a homer in his career off Fister.

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