Back to basics, Inge finishing strong

Back to basics, Inge finishing strong

CHICAGO -- The surprises just keep coming from Brandon Inge this season.

When he was sent down to Triple-A Toledo in July with just a .177 average, not many people expected him to be recalled anytime soon. Then, just a month later, he gave everyone another surprise when he slugged his second home run of the season in his first game back with the big league club on Aug. 20.

So, maybe the fact that he has provided the Tigers with consistent production during their September surge really shouldn't catch anyone off guard. Inge has said that his time at Toledo reminded him to just go back to the basics and rely on what's carried him through his 11-year career.

"A lot of stuff gets overanalyzed up here in the big leagues," Inge said. "It's the same sport we've played since we were kids. It hasn't changed. The only difference is there's more media, more people watching you and you're under a microscope more, so every little thing gets blown out of proportion. There's no excuse for what I was doing early in the year, but that's behind me now."

Inge wasn't in the starting lineup on Tuesday against the White Sox, but entering that contest he had found his way into 22 of the Tigers' previous 23 games, either as a starter or defensive replacement, since being recalled. Following his three-hit game on Monday, the third baseman was hitting .500 in his 20 at-bats this month. Inge eventually did come in at third base in the sixth inning of Tuesday's 5-0 victory and went 0-for-1 at the plate.

"When he went down like he did, I've always had respect for him, obviously, but to do what he did -- to go down there and grind it out -- he could have just said the heck with it, but he didn't do that," Tigers manager Jim Leyland said. "He went down to Toledo and worked at it. And now he's come back and this is the best I've seen him swing."