Young getting into groove at the plate

Young getting into groove at the plate

Young getting into groove at the plate
DETROIT -- The last time Delmon Young had two extra-base hits in a three-hit game, he was in the middle of a stretch run with the Tigers last September. To say his three-hit, two-double performance on Saturday night was welcome would be an understatement.

While Young is batting .324 (23-for-71) over his last 18 games after Sunday 5-2 win over the Angels, he hasn't shown much statistical power, Sunday's solo homer notwithstanding. He has seven doubles and two home runs over that stretch. In terms of contact, though, he's connecting solidly on a more consistent basis than earlier in the year, and he's striking out at a lower rate.

"He's in a good groove right now," manager Jim Leyland said. "He's been hitting some balls hard. He hasn't had the best of luck, and he still didn't have the production that he wanted, but he's been hitting some balls hard for a while now, and it looks like now they're starting to fall."

Both of Young's doubles on Saturday were well-struck line drives into the gaps off Angels starter Dan Haren. He added a ground ball through the middle for a single, accounting for three of Detroit's eight hits off Haren over 5 2/3 innings.

Asked why he's heating up at the plate, Young said, "I just know I'm not coming back to the dugout after I swing."

Leyland had been planning on sitting Young on Sunday, but changed his plans, even before deciding that Miguel Cabrera would get the game off.

"Delmon had a huge night [on Saturday], feels real good," Leyland said before the rubber game against the Halos. "When you have a veteran like that who feels real good, you're probably smart to play him."

That move paid off, as Young went 2-for-4 in the series finale, with a double and a home run.