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Gose, Kinsler take off since Ausmus juggled lineup

Chris McCosky
The Detroit News

Detroit — When Anthony Gose was moved from the leadoff spot to the ninth hole in the Tigers lineup earlier this month, his initial reaction was – uh-oh.

"There's only one place to go from here," he said. "And that's out of the lineup. You go from one to nine, the next stop is the bench."

Well, that's wasn't exactly manager Brad Ausmus' thought when he reconfigured the lineup on July 3. His thought was, the previous lineup wasn't producing, it was time to find something that will.

So, Ian Kinsler went from batting second to batting first. Yoenis Cespedes moved into the No. 2 spot. After Miguel Cabrera went down with a calf injury that day, Victor Martinez moved up to the No. 3 spot and J.D. Martinez into the No. 4 spot.

The new lineup has clicked. In 11 games, the Tigers have scored 67 runs and are hitting .314 as a team, with a .906 OPS.

"A lot of people look at OPS, slugging percentage and on-base percentage and say, 'Well, you can do it other ways,'" Ausmus said of his batting order. "And we did for a while and it wasn't working.

"The upside to this is we are getting our four historically best hitters to the plate right away and that puts pressure on teams in the first inning."

The change has also ignited the individual components.

Kinsler is hitting .349 with a .926 OPS since moving to the top spot. Gose, since moving down, is hitting .419 with a .710 slugging and a 1.164 OPS. Cespedes is hitting .320 with a .920 OPS.

Victor and J.D. Martinez have thrived, as well. Victor hitting .383 with a 1.119 and J.D. is hitting .341 with a 1.182 OPS.

Gose is on an 11-game hitting streak but he doesn't think it has much to do with hitting in the No. 9 spot.

"I don't feel any different," he said. "It's just, really, I had a terrible month of June. I don't think it would've mattered where I was hitting in the order. It was just my time in the rotation to have a slump."

Gose hit .169 in June, after hitting .314 the first two months of the season.

"It's just, I hit a wall in June," he said. "I was probably a little bit too aggressive. I started swinging at borderline pitches instead of making them throw it over the plate."

Ausmus agreed, saying part of Gose's resurgence has been his ability to better recognize and react to breaking balls and off-speed pitches.

"Whether you want to think you are or not, you know that you are struggling," Gose said. "I was pressing a little bit, started to try and make things happen."

He has fought his way through his June swoon.

"He's recognizing breaking balls better and having better swings at off-speed pitches," Ausmus said. "I don't know if it's much more than that."

So the lineup change had no impact?

"Well, I am not going to mess with it," Ausmus said.

Twitter @cmccosky