The Grand Slam: Tigers rally in ninth on J.D. Martinez's three-run homer

Mark Townsend

Tuesday night was setting up to be a sleepless night for many members of the Detroit Tigers lineup. Through eight innings, the team had gone 2-for-14 with runners in scoring position and stranded 12 baserunners overall. To make matters more frustrating, they were only trailing the Cleveland Indians by a single run in a game that could prove pivotal in the standings.

They needed a big swing in the ninth inning, and they got it off the bat of J.D. Martinez. With two men on and one out, Martinez crushed a three-run homer to straight away center field off Cleveland closer Kory Allen to give Detroit its first lead and eventually a 4-2 victory.

And we do mean... CRUSHED.

''He hit it so hard, it sounded like thunder,'' teammate Torii Hunter said.

Hunter had a good perspective. He was standing on second base after walking to start the rally. Miguel Cabrera followed with a single, his third of the game, before leaving for a pinch-runner.

''It was one of those swings where you hit it and it just feels perfect,'' Martinez said, ''like you couldn't do anything else or any better. When I reached home, I was like, 'Did I touch every bag?' You get caught up in the situation. It's September, this is the month you win or go home.''

Well, it's not quite that intense yet, but with Kansas City and Cleveland playing well in their division, the games have taken on more urgency for Detroit. With the win, they remain a half-game behind the Royals and move to five up on Cleveland. Detroit also hold the second wild-card position by two games over the Mariners. Seattle defeated Oakland 6-5 on Tuesday.

RANGERS MATHMATICALLY ELIMINATED: It's nearly impossible to believe now, but on May 1 the Texas Rangers were 15-13 and sitting a comfortable three games behind the Oakland A's for first place in the AL West. They were also one-half game ahead of the Los Angeles Angels for second place, which definitely seems absurd as we study the standings on Sept. 3.

After losing 2-1 to the Kansas City Royals on Tuesday, the Rangers fell to 53-85 and remained 30 1/2 games behind those same Angels, who now own the best record in baseball. They also became the first MLB team to be mathmatically eliminated from postseason contention.

Talk about a long, hard fall. Unfortunately for them, the season was quickly and completely derailed by injuries, injuries, and even more injuries. Before even entering September, they tied a dubious MLB record by using 59 different players (37 pitchers). They set a new record by using their 60th player — pitcher Derek Holland — on Tuesday.

The Rangers season is a simple, yet painful reminder that nothing in baseball is guaranteed. Depth, experience and a high payroll can be easily offset on the long road to 162 games. 

BUSTER POSEY KILLS THE ROCKIES... AGAIN: Last week in San Francisco, Buster Posey was a one-man wrecking crew against the Colorado Rockies, clobbering three home runs - including a walkoff blast - and driving in seven runs. That doesn't even factor in his 5-for-5 game against Milwaukee over the weekend. He continued bringing the pain against Rockies pitching on Monday with a three-hit game, and on Tuesday he fueled a major Giants comeback as they topped Colorado again 12-7.

With San Francisco trailing 7-1 in the fifth, Posey hit a solo home run off Jordan Lyles that started a string of 11 unanswered runs. Andrew Susac followed with a two-run homer in that inning to close the gap further. In the seventh, Posey ignited a game-changing six-run rally with a two-run double. And then in the eighth he applied the finishing touches with another RBI double. 

That's three huge hits and four RBIs in the span of four innings. And if you go back over the season series, that's 12 hits and 11 RBIs in his last six games against Colorado. If Posey moves into the MVP conversation again, he'll know which team to thank first. 

STANTON PASSES 100 RBI MARK: Giancarlo Stanton did not homer in every at-bat on Tuesday — which may help explain why they lost 8-6 to the Mets. He did homer once though — a two-run shot off Jonathan Niese in the fourth inning — and in doing so became the first player to top 100 RBIs this season.

The home run was Stanton's 35th of the season. The runs knocked in were No. 100 and 101, which also meant he joined elite company in Marlins franchise history. Until Tuesday, only Gary Sheffield (42 homers, 120 RBIs in 1996) had topped 35 homers and 100 RBIs in a season for Miami. With a little less than four weeks left and perhaps one extended hot streak left in him, it's possible Stanton could best those numbers and raise the standards even higher.

The victorious Mets received four hits and three runs scored from lead-off man Juan Lagares. David Wright had three hits, including two doubles and three RBIs.

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Mark Townsend is a writer for Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at bigleaguestew@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!