Aubrey Huff's tweaked routine pays off for Tigers

DETROIT -- A change in routine led to a change in results for Aubrey Huff.

Huff struggled a bit adjusting to his role as a part-time pinch-hitter after being acquired by the Detroit Tigers in a trade last month.

After the trade, he would start preparing in the fifth inning when he wasn't in the starting lineup. He would stretch out, hit balls off a tee in the batting cage and work up a sweat while waiting to get into the game.

On Sunday, he took a new, more mellow approach.

"I didn't swing as much," Huff said. "I felt really relaxed and got up there and got a nice double the other way."

And how did he prepare Monday?

"I did the same thing," he said.

That certainly worked out well for him. Huff delivered a pinch-hit, three-run homer in the bottom of the ninth inning to send the series finale with Toronto into extra innings. The Tigers won 6-5 in the 10th.

The home run was Huff's 15th of the season and 203rd of his career.

It was his first as a pinch-hitter.

In Huff's first five at-bats as a pinch-hitter with the Tigers, he went 1-for-5 with a single and one RBI. He knocked in a run with his double Sunday and has four RBIs in two pinch-hit at-bats since changing his routine.

Tigers manager Jim Leyland said veterans adjust to a pinch-hitting role more quickly than young players, but the change can be tough for everybody.

"When you're used to playing every single day and all of a sudden you're not, it's a little bit different," Leyland said. "It's new territory for him."

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