The national anthem was about to begin Wednesday night when Angels reliever Billy Buckner was told to get loose because he would be starting against the Tigers in place of Tommy Hanson, who was scratched during warmups because of right forearm tightness.

"It was tough, something I'd never done before," Buckner said. "It all happened so quick."

When Buckner gave up solo home runs to Torii Hunter and Miguel Cabrera in the first inning, it looked like it would be a rough night for the Angels.

But Mike Trout (third inning) and Erick Aybar (sixth) hit two-run homers, Trout keyed a three-run seventh with an RBI double, and five relievers combined to allow one unearned run in six innings of a surprising 7-4 victory in Comerica Park.

The Angels improved to 5-0 against the American League Central-leading Tigers this season and have outscored them, 43-16, in those games.

"They're manhandling us," said Hunter, the Detroit right fielder. "They're throwing us around like rag dolls."

Buckner allowed three runs and seven hits in three innings before yielding to Dane De La Rosa, who struck out Hunter with the bases loaded on a 98-mph fastball to end the fourth and induced a double-play grounder in a scoreless fifth.

Scott Downs got four outs in the sixth and seventh, and Michael Kohn, with a runner on third and two out in the seventh, took a wicked Cabrera line drive off his left buttocks but recovered in time to throw out Cabrera at first.

"I'm happy it hit me in the meaty part instead of square in the back," Kohn said. "I would have went down."