Martinezes homer in Tigers’ win over Orioles
DETROIT -- Victor Martinez celebrated the impending birth of his child a little bit early.
The Detroit Tigers designated hitter slugged a go-ahead, two-run homer in his final game of the week and J.D. Martinez supplied a three-run blast in a 6-5 victory over the Baltimore Orioles on Thursday afternoon.
Victor Martinez’s long ball in the fifth erased a 4-3 deficit. He was placed on the paternity list after the game and will miss the weekend series against the Texas Rangers. He will return to Orlando, Fla., for the birth of his fourth child.
“Feels great,” he said. “It’s not just before I go back home, it’s a good feeling when you do something and help out your team to win a ballgame.”
He’s helped the Tigers quite a bit lately, batting .301 over his last 27 games with seven doubles, three homers and 20 RBI.
“He was obviously struggling early and slowly came around. Now he’s actually driving the ball,” Detroit manager Brad Ausmus said. “He’s hit a few home runs here lately but he’s also hit some balls in the gap and even some of his outs have been to deep center field. So, he’s getting his lower half involved and he’s driving (the ball).”
Martinez has a different take on his recent surge.
“A little more luck, finding holes. That’s it,” he said. “You don’t get paid to put a good swing and hit the ball right at people. Because at the end of the day, fans, everybody is going to say you’re struggling. But the reality is that you’re hitting the ball good right at people and that doesn’t count. Everybody wants results, right?”
J.D. Martinez also is getting plenty of results.
His homer was his third of the three-game series, as the Tigers (20-19) took two out of three from the Orioles (23-16). He has five home runs in six games since coming off the disabled list while reaching base 17-of-25 times.
“There’s no two ways about it. He rolled out of bed hot,” Ausmus said. “I hope he doesn’t cool down for 4 1/2 months.”
Jordan Zimmermann (4-2) pitched six innings and got the win despite giving up four runs, including two home runs. Zimmermann, who has allowed 10 homers in his last five starts, struck out six.
Alex Wilson collected his second save, while Alex Avila doubled twice and knocked in a run.
Chris Davis, Adam Jones and Seth Smith homered for the Orioles, who have lost six of their last seven - all by one run. Dylan Bundy (5-2) gave up six runs on eight hits in six innings.
“Seems like every time we do something offensively, we go out there and give it back up,” Baltimore manager Buck Showalter said. “Those shutdown innings haven’t been there for us to get an opportunity to get back in the dugout and add on. Seems like we’re always trying to dig ourselves out of a hole.”
Showalter would like to see his starters go deeper into games.
“The first month of the season, the pitching kind of offset challenges that we had offensively,” he said. “Now we seem to be finding our step a little bit there and the pitching’s been a little less (productive) on this trip.”
Baltimore third baseman Manny Machado missed his first game of the season because of a sore finger.
Davis’ two-out, two-run homer in the first put the Orioles on the board. Baltimore used three singles to score another run in the second, with Smith delivering the RBI hit.
Jose Iglesias’ double and Nicholas Castellanos’ infield hit preceded J.D. Martinez’s one-out, three-run shot into the Orioles bullpen, tying the game at 3-3 in the third.
Jones put the Orioles back in front with his two-out solo shot in the fifth, which just carried over the left-field wall.
Baltimore’s lead didn’t last long. After J.D. Martinez walked with one out in the bottom of the inning, Victor Martinez drilled his third homer of the season into the right-field stands. Detroit made it 6-4 later in the inning on Avila’s run-scoring double.
Smith’s solo homer off reliever Blaine Hardy moved the Orioles within one.
NOTES: Tigers 1B Miguel Cabrera missed his second consecutive game with a Grade 1 oblique strain. He is expected to sit out at least one more game. “Hopefully, it’s very short term,” manager Brad Ausmus said. ... Orioles RHP Gabriel Ynoa will throw a bullpen session Friday and face batters “a day or two later,” according to manager Buck Showalter, before Ynoa begins a rehab assignment. He was placed on the 10-day disabled list May 6 with a right hamstring strain. ... Baltimore RHP Chris Tillman will make his third start of the season in the opener of a weekend series against Toronto on Friday. “I‘m looking forward to him getting in a groove and pitching like he’s capable of,” Showalter said. ... Tyler Collins’ multi-homer game on Wednesday was the first by a Tigers center fielder since Curtis Granderson did it on July 29, 2009.