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Hits starting to fall for Avila

Hits starting to fall for Avila

Hits starting to fall for Avila
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.

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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."

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