Tigers' HR wave snaps Rangers' win streak

Tigers' HR wave snaps Rangers' win streak

DETROIT -- The Texas Rangers' 10-game winning streak ended Saturday with something louder than a thud. Four Tigers home runs off A.J. Griffin, including a Miguel Cabrera blast in his return from an oblique injury, put Detroit in command early for Justin Verlander on their way to a 9-3 win at Comerica Park.

It was the Rangers' first loss at Comerica Park since Aug. 20, 2015, ending a franchise-best seven-game winning streak in Detroit. Texas' 10-game winning streak overall ended as the fourth-longest in club history, and best since a 12-game streak in July 2011.

"When a team's playing that well, and probably had some comeback wins, the best way to stop that is to go out there and score some early-and-often runs," Verlander said.

Alex Avila, Cabrera and J.D. Martinez hit consecutive homers in the first inning off Griffin (4-1), who also suffered a three-run homer from Nicholas Castellanos in the third inning. Griffin gave up nine runs in 3 1/3 innings, bumping his ERA for the season from 3.15 to 5.02. Verlander (4-3) gave up a two-run double to Nomar Mazara and a solo homer to Jonathan Lucroy, but tossed seven quality innings for his third win in his last four starts.

Mazara's two-run double

"We won 10 in a row, but we ran into a good arm tonight," Lucroy said. "He made some really good pitches, and they got to our guy early. Griff wasn't as sharp as normal. It is what it is. I'm a big fan of starting streaks all over again."

Kinsler exits in fourth as precaution

MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Back-to-back-to-back: Griffin did not enter the game with the best track record against Detroit, having allowed nine runs, 15 hits and three homers in 9 1/3 innings. The Tigers matched the home run total in a three-batter span of the opening inning, each one progressively harder and farther than the previous. Avila hit a 391-foot drive to right field with an exit velocity of 106 mph, according to Statcast™. Cabrera marked his return from injury with a 417-foot, 110-mph homer over the out-of-town scoreboard in right field. Martinez topped both with a 439-foot shot to the deepest part of right-center, hit at 112.5 mph. The three consecutive homers were the first for the Tigers since June 1, 2013.

"It gets Justin three runs," Avila said. "To get him an early lead like that, you allow him to settle in, which he did. That's important against a team like that."

Avila puts game away: Though Mazara's two-run double gave the Rangers signs of life in the fourth, Avila ended any Texas aspirations of getting back into the game with a line-drive double off the left-field fence, scoring two runs and restoring a seven-run advantage on Griffin's 88th and final pitch of the night.

Avila's two-run double

"If he keeps hitting like this, he's going to find himself playing every day," Tigers manager Brad Ausmus said.

QUOTABLE
"He's probably just trying to impress his dad."
-- Ausmus, joking, on Avila, whose father is Tigers general manager Al Avila

Avila's juggling catch

"I know my role; that's why I pitched just one inning in the past three weeks. Early in the game, I mentally and physically got prepared, and I was able to go in and do my job."
-- Rangers long reliever Austin Bibens-Dirkx, who threw 4 2/3 scoreless innings

SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
Castellanos hit seven outs farther this season than his Saturday home run, which traveled 375 feet according to Statcast™. But he hit the home run at a 37-degree launch angle, lofting it into the second row of the right-field seats.

Castellanos' three-run homer

INJURY REPORT
Tigers second baseman Ian Kinsler was pulled from the game after four innings for precautionary reasons with left hamstring tightness, the Tigers announced. Andrew Romine replaced him at second base.

WHAT'S NEXT
Rangers: Right-hander Yu Darvish pitches against the Tigers at 7:05 p.m. CT Sunday at Comerica Park. Darvish is 3-0 with a 2.38 ERA in his last five starts, and is undefeated in six career starts against the Tigers.

Tigers: Matthew Boyd takes the mound under the lights Sunday as the Tigers wrap up their three-game series with the Rangers with an 8:05 p.m. ET start. He's 1-3 with a 5.24 ERA in four career starts against Texas.

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Jason Beck has covered the Tigers for MLB.com since 2002. Read Beck's Blog, follow him on Twitter @beckjason and listen to his podcast.

T.R. Sullivan has covered the Rangers since 1989, and for MLB.com since 2006. Follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger and listen to his podcast.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.