6-8, 3 2B, 1 HR, 4 R, 2 BB, 7 RBI. After another 3-4 night (with two extra base hits), those are Victor Martinez's numbers the past two nights. Without question, Martinez's offense is carrying the team. There's not a hotter bat on the Tigers or in baseball.
Martinez's RBI single in the 3rd inning. Two out, Austin Jackson and Scott Sizemore on 2nd and 3rd, and 1st base open, the Twins elected to have Francisco Liriano intentionally walk Miguel Cabrera. Normally a wise move. Tonight? Big mistake.
Cabrera is in a mini-slump (It's all relative, as it is Cabrera, after all. He still got on base three times), while Martinez is belting around Twins pitching like they're placing the ball on a tee. Martinez made the Twins pay by lining a 2 RBI single to center. It was all downhill from there for the Twinkies.
The game was delayed for 1:04 in the 4th inning, thanks to hail the size of Ford Pintos falling in Minneapolis. Wouldn't you think the Twins would want to play in a dome?
Liriano made his first start since no-hitting the White Sox last week. He stretched the hitless streak four more outs until Jhonny Peralta ended it with bang, lining a two run home run over the left field wall. Liriano's appearance was a short one, giving up 4 ER, 3 H, 3 BB in just three innings. The Twins said Liriano was pulled due to "illness." I think he was diagnosed with wild-itis.
Rick Porcello pitched four scoreless innings before the Buick sized hail arrived. In a bit of a surprise, he came back out for the 5th inning, despite the long delay. Porcello allowed a home run to the first batter he faced, Rene Tosoni, but settled down to get the one inning he needed to qualify for the win. Kid Rick is now 3-2 on the season with a solid 3.67 ERA,
BYB community "favorite" Brad Thomas pitched two innings...and the world didn't come crashing down around us.
The Tigers' revamped top of the order continues to set up the big bats. Between Jackson and Sizemore, they were on base six times (3 R, 3 H, 3 BB).
Somewhat overshadowed by Martinez's smoking bat is the pretty damn hot one Peralta is swinging. He's currently riding a seven game hitting streak, and has raised his average 30 points since the month began. Along with the good bat, Peralta is also playing respectable defense. Peralta's performance at short this season has been a pleasant surprise.
Line of the night came from the FSD's color man Rod Allen, after Martinez's final double: "Just stop it, Victor!" I'm sure that's exactly what the Twins were saying.
The Twins are a bad team missing key pieces due to injury. The Tigers are playing excellent all-around baseball. It was a mismatch on paper, and one on the field. As it should have been.