While the Detroit Tigers got admirable support while J.D. Martinez healed from his spring training foot injury, nothing is better than the real thing. The Tigers thumper cracked a pair of home runs to lead the way to victory on Saturday night. The win locked up at least a split in the series, and they’ll have a chance to make it a 5-4 road trip on Sunday.
Martinez the younger put the Tigers up early with a two-run shot to left centerfield in the second. Meanwhile, Daniel Norris showed better command in this one, cruising into the fifth with a pitch count that had him primed to go seven innings. The baseball gods intervened when a blooper and a ground ball that Jose Iglesias knocked down, but couldn’t make a play on, left men on first and second with Mike Trout at the plate. An inside pitch was judged to have peeled an atom or two from Trout’s elbow guard—replay was inconclusive—and the bases were yoked for Albert Pujols. Norris had Pujols down 1-2 and made a pretty good pitch in on his hands, but Pujols was able to dump it down the left field line off the trademark, plating two and tying things up.
Justin Upton then got the lead right back with a towering fly ball that just got out of the park in the left field corner. Mike Trout returned serve off of Shane Greene in the seventh, smoking a hanging breaking ball out to left to tie the score at three apiece.
Fortunately, J.D. Martinez wasn’t done. He led off the top of the ninth in style. It was classic Martinez, as he pulled his hands in on a pitch on the inner third and drove a Bud Norris offering over the wall in right field for the eventual game winner. Justin Wilson came on for his second save of the year and torched the Angels, striking out the side in one of the prettiest innings a Tigers’ fan could ask for.
J.D. Martinez: A pair of bombs, including another late innings game winner for the much missed Tigers’ slugger.
Justin Upton: J-Up launched his 8th of the year as he continues to wreck shop out of the five spot.
Justin Wilson: Before you even had a chance to stress over a one-run lead in the ninth, Wilson emptied the stadium with another dominant inning.
Miguel Cabrera and Nick Castellanos: Both seem in a funk in recent games and went 0 for 4 on the night with a strikeout each.
Stats and Info:
The three strikeout, 1-2-3 save was the first for the Tigers since Francisco Rodriguez managed it on June 12th of last season. He had a comfortable three run lead to work with, however.
The last man to do it in a one run game? Phil Coke, obviously.