It says something about the Detroit Tigers season that, when one of their expensive hitters finally got going this week, it was Brandon Inge.
The player that got run out of town on a rail turned into Babe Ruth as soon as his former teammates hit the West Coast. In his last six games, he's hitting .304 with four homers - two grand slams - and 16 RBIs. In his nine games with the Tigers this season, he hit .100 with two RBIs.
Inge didn't do all of his damage against the Tigers - he had a walk-off grand slam earlier in the week against Toronto - but The most dramatic player in baseball lived up to his nickname against his old friends. The first time he ever played Detroit, he hit a grand slam - his second in three days - and in the second game, he drove in four more runs in an 11-4 Oakland victory.
"I don't have a grudge against anyone in Detroit, so I don't want to say this was satisfying," Inge told FOX Sports Detroit's Mickey York during the series. "It's just a lot of fun to compete against those guys. I still have a lot of friends over there, and it is great to see them and play against them."
Inge might have been American League Player of the Week if not for Josh Hamilton's nine homers in seven games, and the Tigers would certainly be thrilled to have anyone hitting as well as he is. Detroit's offense showed a few signs of life this week, scoring six runs in a win in Seattle and 10 in a victory over Oakland, but the rest of the week was business as usual. In the week's other five games, they managed just 11 runs, including two games with just one.
Luckily, the Tigers still have Justin Verlander. He won both of his starts this week, and a good outing from Max Scherzer helped Detroit finish the west-coast portion of the road trip with a 3-4 record.
May 7: MARINERS 3, Tigers 2 - The road trip gets off to a horrible start, as fill-in closer Octavio Dotel melts down in the ninth inning. Given a 2-0 lead after a great return to the rotation from Doug Fister, Dotel doesn't retire a batter as the Mariners rally for a 3-2 win.
May 8: Tigers 6, MARINERS 4 - Verlander doesn't have his best stuff, allowing three runs in six innings, but Andy Dirks drives in three runs and Prince Fielder homers to give the Tigers a win.
May 9: MARINERS 2, Tigers 1 - Drew Smyly continues the astonishing start to his career, allowing one run in six innings, but the Tigers can't muster any offense off of Jason Vargas. For the second time in three nights, the Mariners win on an RBI by John Jaso off Duane Below in their last at-bat.
May 10: Tigers 10, ATHLETICS 6 - The offense comes to life with an eight-run third inning, giving the Tigers more than enough space to survive Inge's grand slam in the eighth.
May 11: ATHLETICS 11, Tigers 4 - Josh Reddick homers twice and drives in five runs, while Inge has another homer and four more RBIs, as Rick Porcello, Below and Collin Balester all get roughed up. In the meantime, the Tigers can only get two runs in seven innings off little-known Tommy Milone.
May 12: ATHLETICS 3, Tigers 1 - Doug Fister allows one run in six innings and loses. Detroit only avoids being shut out on Alex Avila's ninth-inning sacrifice fly.
May 13: Tigers 3, ATHLETICS 1 - Verlander, as always, is at his best after a Tigers loss. He only gives up two hits before leaving with a blister after the seventh, and Joaquin Benoit and Jose Valverde finish it off.
Doug Fister: He had a 0-1 record in two starts, but he eased any concerns about his rib-cage injury. In his first two starts since hurting himself in his first game of the year, he allows one run in 13 innings.
Andy Dirks: Dirks continued to show why he's now hitting second in the batting order, hitting .500 for the week with a .727 slugging percentage.
Prince Fielder: His .143 batting average for the week doesn't really sum up his current slump. He went 0-for-Oakland, and has gone 21 at-bats without a hit over Detroit's last five games.
Ryan Raburn: With Inge gone, Raburn is Detroit's only hope at second base. Unfortunately, he's showing no signs of breaking out of his customary early-season slump, hitting .136 for the week and .135 on the season.
Monday, May 14: Tigers at White Sox, 8:10 p.m.
Tuesday, May 15: Tigers at White Sox, 2:10 p.m.
Wednesday, May 16: Twins at Tigers, 7:05 p.m.
Thursday, May 17: Twins at Tigers, 1:05 p.m.
Friday, May 18: Pirates at Tigers, 7:05 p.m.
Saturday, May 19: Pirates at Tigers, 4:05 p.m.
Sunday, May 20: Pirates at Tigers, 1:05 p.m.