Originally posted on Pro Sports Daily  |  Last updated 9/1/13
Omar Infante flexed his muscles Saturday night at Comerica Park hitting a pair of home runs to power the Tigers past struggling Cleveland 10-5 to open up a season-high 8.5-game lead over the Indians in the American League Central Division. The Tigers have definitely won the head-to-head matchup in the series winning for the 14th time in the last 15 games which started with a two-game sweep May 21-22 in Cleveland. The Tigers will go for the three-game sweep over the Tribe — losers of five straight — Sunday afternoon when Justin Verlander goes up against 23-year-old rookie right-hander Danny Salazar. Infante must have felt he needed to go to his power game with Triple Crown winner Miguel Cabrera sitting the game out due to a recurring muscular irritation in his abdomen. “He can swing the bat and it’s good to have some depth down there at the bottom of the lineup” said Tigers manager Jim Leyland of Infante who was hitting seventh in the lineup.” Infante sent an 83 mph 0-and-2 pitch from Indians left-hander Scott Kazmir into the left field seats to highlight a four-run second-inning when the Tigers batted around to turn a 1-0 deficit into a 4-1 cushion. Infante did some damage against right-handed reliever Bryan Shaw as well hitting a 92 mph 1-1 pitch off the glove of left-fielder Michael Brantley and over the fence for a two-run shot and 6-2 lead in the sixth. It was Infante’s eighth career multi-homer game. He has nine home runs for the season. “I feel 100 percent now and I’m playing more comfortable” said Infante who is hitting .347 (25-for-72) since returning to the lineup Aug. 12 following a left ankle sprain. “The first one was off a slider. I was waiting and I tried to make contact and I made real good contact.” On the second homer Infante replied: “I hit a cutter. I thought he (Brantley) caught the ball. He was very close to catching it. I was lucky. It was a good day for me.” Still things got interesting in the top of the eighth when Carlos Santana hit a two-run inside-the-park homer off of reliever Jose Veras to pull the Indians to within 6-5. The sell-out crowd of 41272 held its collective breath when center fielder Austin Jackson slammed into the fence with the ball bouncing in and out of his glove. He was treated by head trainer Kevin Rand and remained in the game.
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