Martinez’s double in 11th gives Tigers win
On Friday night, Martinez proved it one more time.
His run-scoring double in the 11th inning gave Detroit a 4-3 victory over the Baltimore Orioles.
Brandon Inge(notes) started the inning with a walk off Willie Eyre(notes) (2-2), and Miguel Cabrera(notes), who hit a two-run homer in the first inning, hit a one-out single. Rookie Zach Phillips(notes) came on to face Martinez and gave up the game-ending double on an 0-2 pitch.
“You’d rather be lucky than good,” Martinez said. “I wasn’t expecting it on 0-2, but he really hung a pitch and I was able to hit it hard. Still, it feels great when you can do something to help your team win a game.”
The Tigers and Texas Rangers, who beat Seattle 5-3 on Friday, remained tied for the second-best record in the American League, with Detroit holding the tiebreaker because of a better head-to-head record.
“This was a good tonic for us and a good win,” Tigers manager Jim Leyland said. “We needed to get this one, obviously, because Texas was winning. We wanted it, and we got it.”
“I felt really strong out there,” Simon said. “I thought I threw a very good game against a great lineup.”
“I thought Porcello was terrific,” Leyland said. “He really had his sinker working against a good offensive team that has been beating people up.”
“We’re trying to get those guys into pressure situations, because we’re still using everyone and still looking around and sniffing around a little bit to see about our roster,” Leyland said. “So that’s good.”
The Tigers threatened in the ninth. Cabrera singled off Jim Johnson(notes) with one out. After a groundout moved Cabrera to second, Alex Avila(notes) was intentionally walked. Johnson got Peralta on a called third strike to send the game to extra innings.
“I had just thrown a breaking ball for a strike, so I wanted to come inside with a fastball,” Simon said. “I put it right where I wanted it, and he still hit it that far. I don’t know how he even hit the ball, much less hit it like that. I guess that’s why he’s the best hitter in baseball.”
The homer gave Cabrera 100 RBIs, making him the first Tiger since Norm Cash and Rocky Colavito in 1961 to have triple digits in runs, RBIs and walks.
“He’s a star,” Leyland said. “There’s absolutely no question about that. I just don’t want an MVP boxing match between him and (Justin) Verlander in the next couple days.”
Baltimore got two runs in the third. Robert Andino(notes) and J.J. Hardy(notes) led off the inning with infield singles and moved up on a wild pitch. Nick Markakis(notes) tied the game with a sacrifice fly, and Matt Wieters(notes) put the Orioles ahead with an RBI single.
NOTES: The four-game series continues Saturday night with Verlander (24-5) going for his 13th straight win in his final regular-season start against Baltimore’s Jeremy Guthrie(notes) (9-17). … Leyland said before the game that, while he will not start Verlander on short rest in a first-round series, he might consider it in the ALCS or World Series. … Tigers 3B Wilson Betemit(notes) (knee) was originally scheduled to start on Friday, but Leyland decided against it because of the cold, damp conditions. … Detroit’s Joaquin Benoit(notes) hasn’t allowed a run in his last 20 appearances, spanning 20 2-3 innings. … Cabrera widened his gap over Martinez in their friendly RBI race to two.