DETROIT -- Justin Verlander got not one, but two three-run home runs for offensive support. Backed by J.D. Martinez and Victor Martinez's red-hot night and some additional help sprinkled in, the team scored a season-high nine runs. Despite some late-inning bullpen antics, the Detroit Tigers won 9-4 over the Oakland Athletics.
Of the 18 outs Verlander got, 14 were retired on the fastball. Early on, his only hiccup was a leadoff moonshot by Khris Davis in the fourth inning. He switched to a heavier diet of offspeed pitches after the homer, and retired nine in a row. It did the trick for a while, but back-to-back doubles to start the seventh, followed by a single with runners on the corners ended his night. The battery of Alex Wilson and Justin Wilson (with Bobby Wilson catching) finished the frame, though Alex did allow one inherited run to score.
But overall, Verlander's night was solid, and along with that performance came the Tigers offense. After another silent night at the plate on Monday, manager Brad Ausmus had switched J.D. Martinez and Justin Upton in the batting order in the hopes it would spark something. It didn't take long before J.D. did just that, launching a three-run homer off A's starter Sonny Gray to the opposite field. The run support got Verlander so fired up in the dugout he jumped out of his seat.
The hits didn't stop there. Another run scored in the fourth on a J.D. sac fly, and then in the sixth inning Victor Martinez destroyed a first-pitch fastball for a three-run homer. The offense had a total of nine hits and left eight on-base, but even Jose Iglesias reached three times with two hits. But as for Upton, his struggles are still apparent and he was hitless with a strikeout in the third.
Justin Verlander: Allowed only one run, though it was a monster moonshot that left JV looking a bit stunned. Anyway, through five innings he had five strikeouts and just two walks. He allowed a total of five hits and 3 runs across 6 1/3 innings.
2-3-4 hitters: J.D. Martinez, Miguel Cabrera, and Victor Martinez combined to go 5-for-9 with two three-run home runs, three walks, two doubles, and seven of the nine runs scored. V-Mart also reached on a HBP.
Tigers offense: They were more patient at the plate and drew four walks in the first two innings. Part of that was due to the lack of command by Sonny Gray, but this was one of the few games of late where they worked a count and got on-base more often.
Justin Upton: Went hitless with three strikeouts. Copy+paste as required.
Alex Wilson/Drew VerHagen: Oddly enough, giving the bullpen a hiss has become a rarity. But the Tigers bullpen did not perform admirably on Wednesday night. Justin Wilson was fine, but his other half allowed a run and then VerHagen gave up his own.
STREAKS AND STATS:
- J.D. Martinez's home run in the second inning marked his third of the season. It traveled an estimated 419 feet at a speed of 109 mph, according to Statcast. He also hit a 105 mph sacrifice fly in the fourth inning.
- Oakland's Khris Davis hit a home run off Verlander in the fourth that found the left-center walkway. Traveling an estimated 449 feet at 113 mph per Statcast, Davis' homer landed on the top of the walkway above the Kaline sign on the brick wall in front of his statue.
- Nick Castellanos' triple to leadoff the second inning marked the first triple of the year for the Tigers as a club.
- Justin Verlander's third inning gave him 2137 2/3 career innings pitched, which gives him sole occupancy of ninth in team history. He passed Wild Bill Donovan, who had 2137 1/3 innings.
- Jose Iglesias finished with two hits on the night, marking his first multi-hit game since April 20 and just his sixth of the year. It was also the 70th multi-hit game of his career.
- Iglesias also stole a base in the fifth, his second of the season. As the Tigers only have four total, he accounts for half.
WIN PROBABILITY GRAPH: