DETROIT -- Brandon Inge's entire career has been somewhat improbable.
Because of that, Saturday night shouldn't have been a surprise.
Inge returned to the Tigers lineup with a homer in his first at-bat and the Tigers went on to rout the Cleveland Indians 10-1. It was just Inge's second homer in 220 at-bats this season.
"I was just laughing," Inge said. "I couldn't have drawn it up any better than that. What a year."
Inge was designated for assignment in July, a move that many expected to end an 11-year career that has seen him alternate between folk-hero status and a magnet for boos.
Inge, though, accepted a demotion to Triple-A Toledo, though, and hit well enough for the Mud Hens to earn a surprising recall.
"I went down there with one thing in mind, and that was to make this game fun again," said Inge, who had last played for the Tigers on July 19. "People keep saying that my stance looks different, but that's not intentional. My first game in Toledo, I decided to stand like I was playing softball, and that was the last I thought about mechanics."
Inge hit a 400-foot RBI double in his second at-bat as the Tigers increased their AL Central lead to 3 1/2 games. He hadn't had two extra-base hits in a game since August 20, 2010 -- exactly a year earlier.
"It was great to see that from Brandon, because he earned so much respect by going down to Toledo and getting things back together," Tigers manager Jim Leyland. "You could see how much our fans appreciated it with the ovations he was getting."
Alex Avila, catching his 14th straight game, went 2-2 with three walks. He's hitting .442 with a .567 on-base percentage in August.
"He's like the Energizer Bunny right now," Leyland said. "He's playing an awful lot, and he's going to have to keep playing a lot, but when you are hitting like he is, sometimes you don't even realize you are tired."
Doug Fister, who had the league's worst run support while pitching for Seattle, took advantage of Detroit's offensive outburst to improve to 5-13.
Cleveland starter David Huff (1-2) allowed five runs on four hits and four walks in 2 1/3 innings.
"I don't know what it was -- I was just trying to get the ball down and find the strike zone," Huff said. "I couldn't throw anything for a strike, and when I did, it was up and over the middle."
Inge, who had been booed loudly before his demotion, was cheered when he came to the plate, and the fans got louder when he homered to left. Later in the inning, Magglio Ordonez, who had lost his job when the Tigers traded for Delmon Young, hit a sacrifice fly to make it 4-0.
"It was great to see both of them contribute to our win," Leyland said of Inge and Ordonez. "They have both earned a lot of respect in this city."
The Indians got a run back in the third on Shin-Soo Choo's homer, but Inge hit a ground-rule double over the centerfield fence to make it 5-1 in the bottom of the inning.
Detroit got a pair of unearned runs in the fifth when Michael Brantley dropped an Inge flyball, and then put the game out of reach in the seventh.
Frank Herrmann faced seven batters in the inning and only retired one, striking out Inge with the bases loaded. Five singles and a walk made it 10-1 by the time Rafael Perez came in to get Young to hit into an inning-ending double play.
"We were never in that game from the beginning," Indians manager Manny Acta said after the Indians dropped to 4-19 at Comerica Park in the last three seasons. "I like this park -- it is a very nice park -- but we just don't win here."
Ordonez hit second in the batting order for just the second time in 13 years. He hit second for the White Sox on Sept. 26, 2003 after not having done it since 1998. ... Fister's team had only scored double-digit runs for him once this season. Ironically, it came against the Tigers in a 13-3 Seattle victory on April 19. ... The teams finish the three-game series Sunday afternoon with Detroit's Rick Porcello (11-8) going against Cleveland's Ubaldo Jimenez, who is 1-0 in his three starts as an Indian. ... Cleveland placed OF Shelley Duncan on the Family Medical Emergency disabled list before the game and called up OF Ezequiel Carrera from Triple-A Columbus. Duncan will have to sit out at least three and no more than seven days.