OAKLAND -- Left-hander Phil Coke had his own personal fan club in attendance as the Detroit Tigers opened a three-game series with the Oakland Athletics on Monday.
Coke grew up in Sonora, a quaint city off the beaten path about four hours east of Oakland that has connections to the California Gold Rush and, despite recent growth, retains a small-town atmosphere.
"There will be all kinds of people from up the hill," said Coke, who began to rattle off numerous folks expected to attend, including members of his family, his extended family, in-laws and his best friend's family.
"Two years ago when I was here, I was shagging in the outfield and I heard someone calling my name," Coke said. "I look over and it's a friend of mine sitting out in left field. These guys come down to watch a baseball game, and I'm just part of the sideshow. They don't care where they sit."
Coke has appeared in five of the Tigers' last eight games, pitching a total of 7 2/3 innings, and he appears to be smoothing things out. He's allowed three runs over his past 8 2/3 innings, a 3.11 ERA that has dropped his season ERA to its current season-low 6.06.
He made three appearances during a 20-day stretch between April 26 and May 17.
"I'm the kind of guy that the more I threw the better I did," Coke said. "It was awkward to throw one day, then take five days off. We needed innings out of me and I'm more than happy to do it. I feel I can do anything I'm asked to do."
Cabrera in Tigers' lineup after hamstring cramp
OAKLAND -- The Tigers held their collective breath when slugger Miguel Cabrera left Sunday's game with a cramp in his right hamstring.
They can breath easier knowing Cabrera was in the starting lineup against the Oakland Athletics on Monday.
"He texted me this morning and said he was fine," Tigers manager Brad Ausmus said. The two-time reigning American League MVP winner, who leads the AL with a .415 batting average with runners in scoring position, has driven in 35 runs over his past 30 games.
Right-hander Joba Chamberlain also left Sunday's game with a sore ankle, but he told Ausmus he was good to go Monday.
"He still has to throw off a rubber," Ausmus said. "We have to see if he can push off of it. Right now it doesn't seem to be anything."
Kinsler gets a day off from Tigers' lineup
OAKLAND -- Tigers manager Brad Ausmus had been planning to give infielder Ian Kinsler, who played in the team's first 46 games, a day off. He finally got around to it on Monday.
"I've told him about four times in the past month he'd be getting a day off next week," Ausmus said. "It's hard to find innings off for him, let alone games. I don't want to take him out of the lineup, but we've ridden him a little hard."
Kinsler, who has an 11-game hitting streak and ranks second in the American League with a .330 batting average, shrugged it off.
"It's always nice to get a day," he said.
Rajai Davis assumed the leadoff role in the lineup and Austin Jackson stepped into the No. 2 spot.
"I have no plan to keep him there," Ausmus said of Jackson. "I do feel comfortable with him there for a day. He's not striking out as much and he's getting walks."
Utility player Danny Worth took over at second base.
Kinsler is hitting .400 during his streak.
Rick Eymer is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.