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Kinsler leads Halos' outburst vs. former club

MLB.com

DETROIT -- As Ian Kinsler was announced with the Angels' starting lineup before Tuesday's game against the Tigers at Comerica Park, fans with fond memories of the second baseman gave a cordial cheer, a respectful recognition of the 35-year-old veteran. It was Kinsler, though, who left with the most joy, finishing 3-for-3 with a three-run home run to power the Angels to a 9-2 win.

As Kinsler has been working through a slump that saw his average plummet to .179 this season, maybe coming back to the field he played on for four seasons, from 2014-17, was what he needed to reset.

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DETROIT -- As Ian Kinsler was announced with the Angels' starting lineup before Tuesday's game against the Tigers at Comerica Park, fans with fond memories of the second baseman gave a cordial cheer, a respectful recognition of the 35-year-old veteran. It was Kinsler, though, who left with the most joy, finishing 3-for-3 with a three-run home run to power the Angels to a 9-2 win.

As Kinsler has been working through a slump that saw his average plummet to .179 this season, maybe coming back to the field he played on for four seasons, from 2014-17, was what he needed to reset.

View Full Game Coverage

"It's a comfortable place for me," said Kinsler, who snapped an 0-for-13 skid with a single in Monday's game before the breakout on Tuesday. "The box is comfortable. A lot of good memories in that batter's box. It's comfortable, it's familiar. Probably a little bit of a coincidence, but it's nice to do it here."

Kinsler hasn't shown as much power this season as he did during his last two years in Detroit, but his homer off starter Michael Fulmer (2-4) was a no-doubter at 394 feet to left field.

Kinsler has been working with hitting coach Eric Hinske and assistant hitting coach Paul Sorrento to find a reliable routine that he can stick to.

"The process only keeps you going for a while," said manager Mike Scioscia. "You have to start to see some results. Although his process has been very, very good, you want to get some hits and help your team, and tonight he did that."

Kinsler's three-run homer was only the beginning of what would become an outpouring of runs from the Angels' offense. Luis Valbuena homered twice to right in the fourth and eighth innings, and Martin Maldonado had three RBIs on two hits, including a two-run homer in the eighth.

Video: LAA@DET: Maldonado crushes a 2-run homer to left

The Angels chased Fulmer after only 3 1/3 innings by scoring five runs on six hits and drawing four walks. It was Fulmer's second-shortest outing of the season.

"Luis and Ian, those guys have been working hard," said Scioscia, "and it's good to see them square some balls up and get some hits to fall in."

Video: LAA@DET: Valbuena belts 2 homers, collects 3 RBIs

The Angels' offense had been sputtering before Tuesday, getting fewer than four runs across the plate in 12 of their last 16 games. Tuesday also marked only the second time since May 3 that they were able to score at least nine runs.

Kinsler contributed again against his former team in the sixth inning, when he singled on a ball that ricocheted off reliever Artie Lewicki and trickled to shortstop Jose Iglesias. An errant throw sent Kinsler to second, and he scored one batter later on a Maldonado single to right.

Video: LAA@DET: Maldonado drives an RBI single to right

Then in the eighth, following Valbuena's home run, Kinsler doubled to right and came around to score on a two-run homer from Maldonado.

"A long time coming," said Kinsler, who hadn't had a multi-hit game since May 10 against Minnesota. "Anytime you can help the team win a game, you feel a lot better taking your uniform off after a game."

The Angels were also helped by a good start from Nick Tropeano (3-3), who threw 5 1/3 innings and allowed seven hits. His only blemishes were two solo home runs to JaCoby Jones in the fifth and Jeimer Candelario in the sixth.

Video: LAA@DET: Tropeano strikes out 5 in Angels win

MOMENT THAT MATTERED
Down 6-2 in the sixth, the Tigers loaded the bases with two outs after already getting a home run in the inning from Candelario. Iglesias stepped to the plate, facing reliever Noe Ramirez. Iglesias was looking to square one up on a 3-1 count but got under the ball and popped out to his former teammate, Kinsler, at second to end the inning.

Video: LAA@DET: Ramirez works out of a bases-loaded jam

SOUND SMART
Tuesday's win was Scioscia's 1,600th, passing Tommy Lasorda for sole possession of 20th on the all-time list.

Tigers manager Ron Gardenhire weighed in on the achievement after the game.

"I will tell you what Terry Francona said about me when I got to 1,000 wins: 'That's because he's just managed a long time.' I thought that was hilarious," Gardenhire said. "And I thought there was a lot of background behind that, too. You know what? Mike's been managing a long time. He's had a very successful career. He's a great manager, and you tip your hat to him that they can survive that long, especially at one ballclub. You know what? It's pretty cool. I've known him very well, and he's a heckuva manager. But most of that comes from managing a long time."

YOU GOTTA SEE THIS
When Iglesias tried to steal second in the bottom of the third, Maldonado threw him out with a ball from his knees that registered at 85.2 mph, according to Statcast™. His pop time of 1.89 seconds was his fastest to second this season.

Video: LAA@DET: Maldonado nabs Iglesias with 85-mph throw

UP NEXT
The Angels continue their four-game series against the Tigers at 4:10 p.m. PT on Wednesday when Shohei Ohtani (4-1, 3.35 ERA) makes his much-anticipated return to the mound after skipping his last turn in the rotation. The right-hander hasn't pitched since May 20. The Tigers will go with Mike Fiers (4-3, 7.78 ERA), who struggled with location during his May 25 start vs. the White Sox.

Tyler Fenwick is a reporter for MLB.com based in Detroit.

Los Angeles Angels, Ian Kinsler, Martin Maldonado, Nick Tropeano, Luis Valbuena