DETROIT — After a rough start to the season that included an ankle injury and a prolonged hitting slump, James McCann thought he had a solution earlier this week.
Detroit Tigers manager Brad Ausmus gave McCann a couple days' off to work on a mechanical tweak to his swing, and it turned out to be the best move he could have made.
McCann returned to the lineup Friday night with three hits, including a triple and a homer, and the Tigers went on to beat the Chicago White Sox 10-3.
"He thought he had a mechanical breakthrough, so we sat him down for a couple days to try to make the fix," Ausmus said. "It bore fruit pretty quickly, because he had really been struggling, and that's the best he has looked all year."
McCann hit a solo homer in the second, added an RBI double in the sixth and a triple in the eighth.
"Things obviously haven't been where I needed them to be, so I've been trying to find something that would get me back on track," said McCann, who raised his batting average from .150 to .179. "I eliminated my leg kick, and that seems to have worked."
The Tigers, who won for the second time in seven games, lost Miguel Cabrera in the seventh inning to lower-back tightness. The team listed him as day-to-day.
"He told us it tightened up on a swing in the fifth, and they worked on it, but it got worse in the seventh," Ausmus said. "I'll check with him in the morning, but I expect him to play tomorrow."
Jordan Zimmermann (8-2), who hadn't pitched in 12 days due to a groin strain, lasted 5 2/3 innings, allowing two runs and five hits. He walked two and struck out three.
"I was a little rusty, and when you are coming back from that much time off, you are a little worried that the next pitch is going to aggravate it," he said. "It felt really good, though, and I was able to help us get a win."
Carlos Rodon (2-5) allowed four runs, seven hits and three walks in six innings. He allowed two homers — his ninth and 10th of the season.
"He was a little erratic, and then he seemed to calm down, but when you can't hit the outside corner, the homers are going to get you," White Sox manager Robin Ventura said.
The White Sox took a 1-0 lead in the second on Avisail Garcia's RBI single, but the Tigers moved ahead in the bottom of the inning on McCann's second homer and a run-scoring single by Ian Kinsler.
Martinez made it 3-1 in the third with a solo homer, but Jose Abreu's double pulled Chicago within 3-2. Jose Iglesias made a sliding stop on J.B. Shuck's grounder, preventing the tying run from scoring, but Zimmermann walked Brett Lawrie and was replaced by Alex Wilson.
Wilson struck out Jimmy Rollins to end the sixth, and McCann's bloop single made it 4-2 in the bottom of the inning. The Tigers added two more runs in the seventh, and four more in the eighth.
White Sox: CF Austin Jackson (turf toe) remained out of the lineup, despite hopes that he would be able to return to action. The former Tiger hasn't played since sustaining the injury on Sunday.
Tigers: RHP Shane Greene, who has been on the DL since April 25 with blister problems, was activated after the game, with RHP Buck Farmer being optioned to Triple-A Toledo. Greene began the year in the rotation, but is expected to move to the bullpen to avoid long outings that might aggravate the skin problem.
NEGRO LEAGUE TRIBUTE:
Former Tigers Jake Wood, Rod Allen and Willie Horton were honoured before the game, along with third-base coach Dave Clark and starting outfielders Justin Upton and Cameron Maybin. They took part in a "Passing the Bat" ceremony along with local pitching prospect Alex Darden on the first night of Negro Leagues Tribute Weekend.
Alex Avila received a warm ovation from the fans when he batted in the second inning - his first at-bat as a visiting player in Detroit. Avila spent his first seven seasons with the Tigers and played in the 2011 All-Star Game. The son of Tigers general manager Al Avila also received greetings from several former teammates as they came to bat, including a hug from Cabrera.
Avila was taken out of the game when the score got lopsided.
"He had a tough night back there, between all the balls he had to block and the foul tip that got him," Ventura said. "I felt sorry for him, and you should too."
The White Sox placed OF Melky Cabrera on the Family Emergency Leave List before the game and recalled RHP Tommy Kahnle from Triple-A Charlotte. Cabrera had played in all 54 of Chicago's games, batting .275 with four homers and 24 RBIs.
The teams continue their weekend series on Saturday in Detroit's annual Negro Leagues Tribute Game. The Tigers, who will be wearing Detroit Stars jerseys, will have Mike Pelfrey (0-5, 4.96) on the mound against Chris Sale (9-1, 2.29). The White Sox will be wearing Chicago American Giants uniforms.