August 2, 2014 at 11:57 pm

Tigers 11, Rockies 5

Tigers bats wake up -- not that Rick Porcello needed much help

David Price arrives
David Price arrives: New Tigers pitcher talks to the media Saturday at Comerica Park.

Detroit — Fiesta Tigres?

Oh no. Alex Avila turned the team’s celebration of Hispanic and Latino players into his own mini-breakout party Saturday night at Comerica Park.

Viva Avila.

Battling a 2-for-31 slump with 15 strikeouts since the All-Star break, Avila kick-started the onslaught with a single, double and two two-out RBIs as the Tigers beat the downtrodden Rockies for the second straight night, 11-5.

“It felt great,” Avila said. “Two-out hits are huge. A lot of times when you have two outs and guys on when you are on defense, it kills you when you give up that hit. Offensively, you want to not only get the run but keep the inning going.”

Avila also threw out two runners — Corey Dickerson trying to advance to third on a wild pitch and Josh Rutledge trying to steal second.

All that work came in the first four innings and it ignited an offensive explosion, the likes of which haven’t been seen around here since Ty Cobb was storming around the bases. The Tigers scored at least a run in every inning, something the team hasn’t done since 1912.

“I didn’t realize that until they put it up on the board,” manager Brad Ausmus said. “Pretty much everybody hit. It was nice to see, nice to get a little separation in the game and score some runs. Our offense has been a little sluggish the last week or week and a half.”

Starter Rick Porcello was happy to get all that run support — “That was pretty sweet,” he said — but he didn’t need it. After giving up two runs in the second inning, Porcello allowed just three hits from the third through the eighth, retiring 11 straight at one point.

“I wasn’t putting guys away,” said Porcello, who improved his record to 13-5. “I had a couple of two-strike counts when I had a chance to put guys away and I didn’t do it. After that I was able to make an adjustment. Jonesy (pitching coach Jeff Jones) pointed out that I was flying off the ball a little bit. That really helped and Alex called a great game.”

Porcello struck out 10 on the night, nine from the third inning on. He struck out the side in the seventh and left to a standing ovation after pitching a scoreless eighth. It was the third time Porcello has struck out 10 batters in a game.

“It was vintage, the way he’s been throwing all year,” Avila said. “He had a really good sinker; he was able to command both sides of the plate and mix in his other pitches. And he got strike one — that’s the key for every pitcher, every starter, in any game you throw.”

Porcello has won nine of his last 10 starts, allowing two runs or fewer in seven of them. The Rockies scored three runs off reliever Patrick McCoy in the ninth.

“It looked like Rick was thinking early and then he let his stuff do the work later,” Ausmus said. “He got strong as the game went on.”

The victory, coupled with the Royals’ loss in Oakland, extended the Tigers’ lead in the AL Central to 5 games.

Miguel Cabrera, Victor Martinez and J.D. Martinez put on their party hats, too.

Cabrera put the team up 3-2 in the third with a 445-foot bomb, his 17th of the season, into the second row of hedges in center field. It was his 244th homer as a Tiger, tying him with Lou Whitaker for sixth on the franchise’s all-time list.

Victor Martinez, who hadn’t homered since July 3, rapped a three-run shot in the fifth after the Rockies walked Cabrera intentionally. It was his team-leading 22nd.

J.D. Martinez, who had hit two homers since July 8, hit his 15th of the season, a laser to right field, in the seventh.

The lack of production from Cabrera, Victor Martinez and J.D. Martinez was a topic of conversation before the game. Before Saturday, those three had combined for just nine extra-base hits, three homers and 14 RBIs, since the All-Star break.

“Hitters go through ups and downs; I am not concerned about any of those guys,” Ausmus said before the game. “They’re going to have their ups and downs but overall they are going to perform.”

Before the home run, J.D. Martinez was 0-for-5 in the series, hitting into two double plays. He had been 9-for-45 with four RBIs since the break. Cabrera, despite the long home run, had a couple of frustrating at-bats. He hit into two double plays, both times with runners on first and third.

Avila, Ian Kinsler and Rajai Davis had three hits each and Eugenio Suarez had two. Davis has five hits and has scored three runs since taking over the leadoff spot in the order.

Avila, just to put a bow on the night, added another double in the eighth inning, a blast to the gap in left-center. It was his third three-hit game of the season and first since June 24. His first two hits came off lefty starter Tyler Matzek; the third hit came off veteran closer LaTroy Hawkins.

The Rockies, who continue to play without All-Star shortstop Troy Tulowitzki and were without right fielder Carlos Gonzalez (ankle), are 2-17 on the road since June 16.

Tigers starter Rick Porcello acknowledges the fans after they gave him a rousing ovation following his eight-inning gem Saturday night. / Elizabeth Conley / Detroit News