Martinezes make Indians pay with clutch home runs
Pitching to J.D. Martinez didn’t work out very well for the Cleveland Indians on Friday night.
Facing Victor Martinez wasn’t a very good idea either.
J.D. Martinez hit a three-run homer, Victor Martinez added a two-run shot and the Detroit Tigers held on for a 6-4 victory.
Rick Porcello (9-4) pitched six scoreless innings for the Tigers and Joe Nathan worked the ninth for his 15th save.
But it was a big Martinez night for Detroit.
Victor Martinez homered off Corey Kluber (6-5) in the fourth inning. J.D. Martinez’s home run, following an intentional walk to Victor Martinez, came in the eighth off John Axford.
J.D. Martinez was 3 for 4, extending his hitting streak to 10 games during which he’s batting .447 (17 for 38) with four homers and raised his average to .317.
“You see occasionally players get on a hot streak like this and I hope he’s hot tomorrow,” Detroit manager Brad Ausmus said.
Victor Martinez, providing a big threat behind Miguel Cabrera, has 18 home runs and 47 RBIs with a .328 average.
“When the season started I said the only guy who can protect Miguel is Miguel, but I’m going to say now the other person who can protect Miguel would be Victor,” Ausmus said. “So there’s at least two.”
Indians manager Terry Francona agreed.
“He’s the perfect guy behind Miggy,” Francona said. “Miggy’s Miggy. He has that reputation and it’s well deserved, but Victor can hit all pitching. He can hit for power. He puts the bat on the ball when need be from both sides of the plate.”
Victor Martinez, who played for the Indians from 2002-09, is hitting .366 (70 for 191) with eight homers and 44 RBIs in 52 career games against his former team. Detroit’s designated hitter also continued his mastery over Kluber. He’s batting .471 (8 for 17) with two homers lifetime against the right-hander.
“I don’t think he’s biased,” Francona said. “He’s good against everybody.”
Victor Martinez belted Kluber’s first pitch deep into the seats in right field. The Indians walked him intentionally in the eighth, but J.D. Martinez ruined that strategy with his seventh home run.
The Tigers took a 5-0 lead into the bottom of the eighth, but Asdrubal Cabrera hit a three-run homer and Carlos Santana had a solo shot off Ian Krol. Joba Chamberlain retired the final hitter of the inning and then Nathan struck out Michael Bourn with a runner on to end the game.
“My stress level got a little bit up in the eighth,” Ausmus said.
The Tigers returned to Progressive Field for the first time since they were swept in a three-game series last month. Detroit was 27-12 and held a seven-game lead in the AL Central, but suffered two walk-off losses, including a balk that scored the winning run in the 13th inning in the series finale.