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TOR@OAK: Inge delivers walk-off grand slam in ninth

When the Tigers and the Athletics meet on Thursday night for the first time this season, it will be exactly two weeks to the day since A's third baseman Brandon Inge was released by Detroit.

Prior to his release, Inge spent the entirety of his 12-year career donning the old English "D". He had been there since the Tigers drafted him in 1998, and he played in 1,408 games with the club. But following one his worst seasons in 2011 -- he hit .197 -- and off to another slow start in 2012, the Tigers decided to cut ties.

"It's one of those things that you can kind of see how things are going before they come, but there's no hard feelings whatsoever," Inge said after his release. "This is my family. This is where I've been my whole career. I'll miss the guys, I will. But a chance to go play maybe somewhere else, it may be a good thing for me personally. But my heart will always be in Detroit, 100 percent, forever."

The 34-year-old was platooning at second base, a position he hadn't played since high school, and only got 20 at-bats with the Tigers. He quickly signed a contract with the A's to become the team's everyday third baseman.

So far, he has seven hits in 30 at-bats (.233) with his new team. The average isn't great, but the few hits have had an impact. He's hit two home runs, including a walk-off grand slam against the Blue Jays on Tuesday, and driven in nine RBIs.

"I'm so happy here right now," Inge said Tuesday after his walk-off blast.

And that's all anyone in the Tigers' organization wanted, especially All-Star catcher Alex Avila, who has been friends with Inge for years, and took the news of Inge's release hard.

"I've known Brandon for almost 10 years now, and it's tough. It's really tough," Avila said after his release. "I really don't know what else to say about it. It's part of the game that's really hard. It happens to everybody at some point but, you know, it's tough to handle."

After a fast start to the season, the Tigers are now at .500 (15-15) after Wednesday's 2-1 loss to the Mariners.

They were 9-3 after beating Kansas City April 18, but are 6-12 since.

Avila didn't play on Tuesday and likely won't play tonight in the series finale against Seattle due to a sore patella tendon in his left knee. However, he's expected to be back for the opener against the A's to catch Max Scherzer.

Scherzer is 1-3 with a 6.32 ERA, but coming off an outing in which he limited the White Sox to four hits and one run in seven innings. He'll be opposed by 38-year-old right-hander Bartolo Colon.

Colon is 3-2 this season with a 2.83 ERA. He's 8-9 with a 5.25 ERA in 24 career appearances and 23 starts against Detroit.

Athletics: Taking the extra base
The A's have 30 stolen bases this season, which is the most in the American League and second most in the Majors behind Miami. Nine of those steals have been of third base, which is the most in the Majors.

• The A's are 5-2 since Brandon Inge joined the team on April 30.

Tigers: Beating Up on Bartolo
Ramon Santiago is 11-for-20 (.550) against Colon in his career with three doubles, a triple and three RBIs.

• Alex Avila has two career hits in three at-bats against Colon, and both hits were home runs.

• As a team, the Tigers have hit .228 against the A's over the past two seasons. The team average was .208 (55-for-264) in 2011 and .301 (22-for-73) in 2011.

Worth noting
• The A's and Tigers split the season series, 5-5, in 2011, and both teams scored the same amount of runs (37).

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