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DET@OAK: Inge takes Below deep for three runs

OAKLAND -- Brandon Inge's "sometimes less is better" mantra at the plate is equating to more runs and more wins for the A's.

Oakland has scored a combined 27 runs in its past three wins, with Inge responsible for nearly half of them. Count 12 to be exact.

The newbie, who hit his second grand slam in three days Thursday night, was one baserunner shy of yet another on Friday. Instead, he settled on a three-run homer against the team that released him two weeks prior, capping a four-RBI night -- his fourth in five games -- en route to an 11-4 A's win over Detroit, marking a season high in runs for the green and gold.

During those five contests, Inge has four home runs and 16 RBIs, as he is just the second A's player -- joining Damian Miller -- since 1970 with 16 RBIs over that same span. Moreover, he is the first player in all of baseball with four four-RBI games in a five-game stretch since Lou Gehrig in 1931, according to Elias.

Only Yoenis Cespedes (21) and Josh Reddick (19) have more RBIs on the team this season.

"I don't know what to say about that," manager Bob Melvin said. "He's been terrific, he really has. To this degree, no one expected this. We certainly expected him to play great defense and have veteran leadership, drive in some runs. For him to do what he's done is pretty phenomenal."

So much so that his teammates are running out of words to describe it.

"It's indescribable," Jemile Weeks said. "You look at the numbers and just open your mouth and are in awe. But it's all real. He's been a great addition and has provided some much-needed pop."

"What else can he do?" Reddick asked. "We want him to come back and hit another [home run] tomorrow, hopefully a grand slam. He's been great. I don't know what the guys across the way were thinking when they let him go, but we're happy to have him here and happy to have him swinging the bat like he is."

His ex-teammates, meanwhile, are just having to deal with it.

"We figured he'd be locked in this series," Tigers catcher Gerald Laird said. "I mean, he's a competitor. He got released by this organization and he feels like he has something to prove. That's the nature of the game. We left some pitches out over the middle of the plate and he didn't miss."

Inge's latest long ball came in a four-run sixth off Tigers reliever Duane Below, and it followed an RBI single from Reddick, who also enjoyed an impressive night. More like a career night, really, as the outfielder produced his first career multi-homer game, compiling a career-high four hits and five RBIs.

The A's No. 3 hitter has eight homers in 31 games, one more than he had in 87 with the Red Sox last season. He's on pace for 39 and, over the past 13 games, is batting .362 with 15 RBIs. Seven of the contests have been of the multi-hit variety.

"What can you say? He's really been a stabilizing force in the middle of the lineup from that spot," Melvin said.

Reddick's first home run, a solo shot off Detroit starter Rick Porcello in the third, was followed by a three-run homer against Tigers right-hander Collin Balester in the seventh.

Not to be forgotten were Kila Ka'aihue and Seth Smith, who combined to reach base six times. Ka'aihue tallied two doubles on the night, while Smith collected three hits, including one of his own two-baggers.

The offensive effort, reflective of the one displayed by Detroit in Thursday's 10-6 loss, overshadowed a bounce-back start from Tommy Milone, who surrendered just one earned run in seven innings of work after offering up a combined 12 over his past two starts on the road. The southpaw surely likes pitching in the confines of the Coliseum, as he improved to 3-0 with a 0.39 ERA in three starts at home.

Milone found trouble out of the gates, allowing back-to-back hits to Austin Jackson and Andy Dirks in the first, before settling down and inducing a run-scoring double-play ball from Miguel Cabrera and fanning Prince Fielder to end the inning. Overall, he struck out six in the effort and gave up just five hits with one walk.

"I thought he was back on it again against a lineup that he had to watch score how many runs last night," Melvin said. "I thought his performance was key. He was really good."

As was Inge. Again.

"He did make an error tonight," Melvin reminded reporters, smiling. "Ruined our defensive night. But we'll give him a break for that one."

"It's good to feel wanted," Inge said. "That's been an important thing. The other part is, coming into this group of guys ... the attitude of this ballclub is very much laid-back but, at the same time, when you step between the lines, very much business. That's a good working atmosphere for me and the way I like to do things. It's an easy match."

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