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Tigers hope hot bats a sign of things to come

MLB.com

DETROIT -- After giving up a pair of solo home runs to the Tigers in the second inning, White Sox starter Miguel Gonzalez had settled in. He retired seven of the next eight batters he faced, setting up a none-on, two-out scenario for the bottom of Detroit's lineup in the fourth.

Yet somehow, the Tigers walked away with four runs in what turned out to be the pivotal inning in Saturday's 10-1 win. They strung together four hits, culminating in Alex Avila's eighth home run of the season, to extend a lead they'd never relinquish.

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DETROIT -- After giving up a pair of solo home runs to the Tigers in the second inning, White Sox starter Miguel Gonzalez had settled in. He retired seven of the next eight batters he faced, setting up a none-on, two-out scenario for the bottom of Detroit's lineup in the fourth.

Yet somehow, the Tigers walked away with four runs in what turned out to be the pivotal inning in Saturday's 10-1 win. They strung together four hits, culminating in Alex Avila's eighth home run of the season, to extend a lead they'd never relinquish.

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Video: CWS@DET: Avila cranks a two-run homer to left field

"We just needed to keep adding on, and we did," said bench coach Gene Lamont, speaking in place of manager Brad Ausmus, who'd been ejected in the first inning. "A lot of times you think hitting is contagious, and hopefully it is."

With the bases empty and two away, Gonzalez faced eight-hitter Alex Presley, who singled on a fastball to right. Presley then stole second base, his second steal in five games this season, and came around to score two pitches later on a single by Jose Iglesias. As White Sox center fielder Leury Garcia threw home trying to nab Presley, Iglesias hustled to second. That put him in position to score on Andrew Romine's single to left during the next at-bat.

Video: CWS@DET: Romine knocks an RBI single to left field

The game was paused momentarily for a mound visit to make sure Gonzalez could regain control. Instead, Avila took a high slider over the plate and lifted it into the Detroit bullpen beyond the left-field wall. It was his second home run in three games and, combined with a third-inning double, his third game this season with multiple extra-base hits.

"The thing is, to be able to string at-bats together when the pitcher's on the ropes, that's when you get him," Avila said.

Less than a week ago, Gonzalez baffled the Tigers with six perfect innings to open a game Chicago would eventually win 7-3. Now Detroit, after averaging 3.42 runs over their previous 12 games, has put up 25 runs and 33 hits the past two games against the White Sox. The recent offensive outburst, in which Saturday's fourth inning was a microcosm, serves as a glimpse at what the Tigers hope will turn into a lengthy offensive run.

"During the season, everybody's gonna have some bad streaks," Lamont said. "Somebody gets hot, everyone jumps on their bandwagon. They play bad, everybody jumps off right away. We're a confident team, we know we can play better than we have, and hopefully this is the start of something good."

Jordan Horrobin is a reporter for MLB.com based in Detroit.

Detroit Tigers