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American League Preview from The Sports Network



Friday, May 11th (All times eastern)

Detroit Tigers (16-15) at Oakland Athletics (16-16), 10:05 p.m.

Probable Starting Pitchers: Detroit - Rick Porcello (3-2, 4.91) Oakland - Tommy Milone (4-2, 4.42)

(Sports Network) - Brandon Inge has found a home in Oakland.

The veteran will try to prevent the Athletics from dropping a third straight game this evening when they continue a four-game series against Inge's former team, the Detroit Tigers.

The 34-year-old Inge was a second-round pick of the Tigers in 1998 and spent his first 11-plus seasons with the club, hitting .234 with 140 homers and 589 runs batted in over 1,408 games.

The righty, though, hit just .197 last season and was batting a mere .100 in nine games this year before getting released on April 26. He signed with the A's four days later and is hitting .222 with three homers and 13 RBI in nine contests.

Two of those homers have been grand slams and have come in the span of three days. His latest came against his former club last night, but it couldn't get the Athletics out of an early hole in a 10-6 loss.

Inge became just the second player in A's history to hit a pair of grand slams in a three-day span, joining Jimmie Foxx, who did so on Sept. 22-24, 1932.

"If anyone said they were trying to do it, they'd be lying. In this game of baseball, you just take your ups and downs and just kind of go with it and try to stay level-headed. Honestly, by no means am I trying to hit grand slams. It just happens sometimes," said Inge, who hit a walk-off grand slam to beat the Blue Jays on Tuesday.

"We just didn't expand the zone enough on him. We know he's got power. We've seen that firsthand," said Tigers manager Jim Leyland of Inge.

Leyland's club got to A's starter Bartolo Colon early as the veteran was charged with eight runs -- seven earned -- on nine hits over just 2 1/3 innings to take the loss.

Andy Dirks went 4-for-4 with a solo homer, while Miguel Cabrera also had four hits and drove in three runs for Detroit, which had seen each of its previous seven games decided by two runs or less.

"It was nice to get some runs on the board," Leyland said.

Detroit will now try to win two straight for the first time since a four-game winning streak from April 15-18 and turn to Rick Porcello, who has won his past two starts.

Porcello has shown great improvement since a span of back-to-back losses in which he allowed 13 earned runs over just 7 2/3 innings. That includes a disaster against the Rangers on April 21 in which he was charged with nine runs -- eight earned -- on 10 hits while recording only three outs.

The 23-year-old righty has since altered his delivery, bringing his glove over his head instead of keeping his hands down, and improved his record to 3-2 with a 4.91 earned run average. He beat the Royals on May 1 with eight innings of three-run ball without a walk, then bested the White Sox five days later, holding them to a run on four hits and two walks over 6 1/3 frames.

"He pitched extremely well," said Leyland about Porcello. "That gives us a chance, particularly when you're not scoring the runs like we think we're capable of scoring."

Porcello, who will make just his second road start of the season, is 2-4 with a 4.39 ERA in seven career starts versus the A's.

Oakland will start left-hander Tommy Milone, who escaped with a win on Sunday in Tampa Bay despite allowing five runs on five hits and four walks over five innings. He needed 41 pitches to get out of the first frame and allowed four runs in the inning, but got plenty of support in a 9-5 triumph.

Milone is 4-2 over six starts, but has allowed 12 earned runs in his past two outings to push his ERA from 2.00 and 4.42. The 25-year-old faces the Tigers for the first time.

Oakland could have outfielder Yoenis Cespedes back in the lineup tonight. He hasn't played since May 6 due to a left hand injury that was diagnosed as a muscle strain.

The Tigers and A's split 10 encounters last season as well as eight meetings in Oakland.

05/11 10:48:22 ET

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