DETROIT -- Marred in a 6-for-41 (.146) rut over his past 12 games, Tigers catcher Alex Avila insisted on Monday he wasn't slumping. He blamed the small sample size for derailing his batting average and said one 3-for-3 performance would put it back around "280-something".
It turns out, that's almost exactly what happened. With a 3-for-3 game Friday -- and going 6-for-9 since Monday -- Avila's average jumped from .220 to .279.
The three hits marked his second multi-hit performance in as many games, as the All-Star catcher went from cold to red hot. Avila provided almost all of the offensive production for the Tigers through the first seven innings of Friday's game.
He doubled in the second inning and crossed the plate for the first run of the game. Two innings later, he hit an opposite-field home run, his fourth of the season, to give Detroit a 2-1 lead. His single in the ninth brought the game-winning run to the plate and shortstop Jhonny Peralta didn't waste the opportunity, belting a walk-off homer for a stunning 5-4 win over the White Sox.
"I think when Alex is really going good, he's doing what he did [Friday night]," Leyland said. "And he's also turning on some balls early in the count."
Avila downplayed the slump after the game Friday, as he did earlier in the week. Averaging a team-high 4.17 pitches seen per at-bat, the 25-year-old maintained his stance that he's been having quality at-bats, but the results were just more evident.
"In baseball you're going to struggle," Avila said. "Sometimes you're going to play well, sometimes you're not. That's just part of the game."