DETROIT -- Comerica Park was once a dreaded road destination for incoming teams, an unwelcome place to visit because of the formidable Detroit Tigers lineup that awaited.
If the offensive onslaught of the past series -- 24 runs in four games against the Oakland Athletics -- is any indication, the Tigers intend to reestablish that reputation.
“Teams used to be scared when they used to come here,” outfielder J.D. Martinez said after the Tigers’ 7-3 win on Thursday. “And that’s because of us, the confidence we exude. I think if we keep our confidence and keep teams like that scared to play us and stuff like that, that’s half the battle right there.”
Save for Tuesday’s clunker, the Tigers bludgeoned the A’s pitching staff during the club’s recent homestand, of which they took three of four games. On consecutive days, Detroit chased Sonny Gray in two innings and Chris Bassitt in 3 2/3.
On Thursday, Miguel Cabrera, Ian Kinsler, Nick Castellanos and Anthony Gose all recorded multihit games, with a standout performance from the latter. Gose finished the afternoon with a two-run home run in the fourth inning, then followed up with a double one inning later.
Cabrera hit .529 during this series, Kinsler leads the American League with 11 multihit games this season and Castellanos has hit safely in 12 of his past 14 games. Jarrod Saltalamacchia hit his first triple since 2012.
The anticipated outburst came following a recent drought in which the bats went silent and the Tigers were foundering. Funny how that works out.
“It’s amazing, isn’t it? One day the season’s over, and four days later we’re contenders,” manager Brad Ausmus joked.
The past two days have brought a much more festive mood in the Tigers' clubhouse, one marked by a palpable level of energy and a reason for optimism.
After all, the Tigers still haven’t even gotten Justin Upton producing as expected, with the star outfielder continuing his search for consistency at the plate. So, no, the past two games are not indicative of what the Tigers are capable of -- they are setting the bar much higher than that.
“I think we’re still capable of more,” said Martinez, who recorded a base hit, drew two walks and scored on a heads-up baserunning play. “I mean, Justin hasn’t clicked yet. There’s a bunch of guys that are -- how can I put it? -- they’re surviving right now, getting their hits and finding ways to produce. But I don’t think anyone besides -- if I could say someone, Nick [Castellanos] -- has been really hot right now. When we get hot, it’s scary.”
That is the team the Tigers want to think of when they play in Detroit, not the club that was scuffling following a series sweep to the Cleveland Indians last weekend.
“This is who we are,” Saltalamacchia said. “I think what we were the past week or so was definitely not us. It’s something we ran into and it gave something for you guys to write about.”
The Tigers have provided a different sort of fodder now.
“We know what we can do. It was just a matter of time before we turned things around,” Victor Martinez told ESPN.com. “It’s no secret. We have a good offense. It was just one of those stretches that everyone goes through.”