Jefry Marte relishes big day in Tigers victory

Chris McCosky
The Detroit News

Seattle — In his first major league start, first baseman Jefry Marte got his first big league hit — a double — and his first big league home run off Mariners left-hander J.A. Happ. Not too shabby.

"Just a great experience for me," said Marte, who got both balls. "I am so excited about that. I give this game to my family and my wife back home (in the Dominican Republic)."

Marte said he expected that everyone was watching.

"Yeah, I call everybody back in the Dominican and say they have to watch the game," he said. "I was playing today. I know they were watching."

Because Hernan Perez and Andrew Romine were busy taking reps in the outfield and first base, the Tigers got a long look at Marte in spring training. He played third base in nearly every spring game, earning him the moniker Everyday Marte.

"The reports we got on him from Toledo were that he does pretty well against left-handed pitching," Ausmus said. "He showed that today. I knew he had some pop but he probably hit more home runs in Toledo (13) than I expected."

What interference?

The Tigers missed a chance to break a 4-4 tie in the fifth inning thanks to a controversial call by second-base umpire Joe West.

With two on and one out, James McCann hit a slow ground ball to second. J.D. Martinez was forced out and McCann beat the relay to first. West, though, ruled interference on Martinez, who slid hard toward shortstop Brad Miller.

Replays showed Martinez could still reach second base from where he slid, but West didn't see it that way. Those plays are not reviewable.

"From multiple reports, we think J.D. could reach the base easily," Ausmus said. "There was nothing I could do about it. It was his judgment and I don't agree with the judgment."

Sunday starter?

With Kyle Ryan sent to Toledo after the game Tuesday, the Tigers are uncertain who will start Sunday against the Twins.

Ausmus said one option was right-hander Buck Farmer, who arrived in Seattle just a couple of hours before game time. Another is Shane Greene, who was pulled after three innings of his start Wednesday for Toledo, giving an indication he could be the starter Sunday.

Ausmus also said Ryan would remain in the starting rotation in Toledo and not work out of the bullpen.

Around the horn

J.D. Martinez was notified that he was not selected to compete in the Home Run Derby.

On deck: Twins

Series: Four games at Target Field, Minneapolis

First pitch: 8:10 p.m. Thursday-Friday; 4:10 p.m. Saturday, 2:10 p.m. Sunday.

TV/radio: Thursday, Friday and Sunday: FSD/97.1; Saturday: FS1/97.1

Probables: Thursday — LHP David Price (8-2, 2.54) vs. RHP Mike Pelfrey (5-5, 3.94); Friday — RHP Justin Verlander (0-2, 6.75)vs. RHP Ervin Santana (0-0, 2.25); Saturday – RHP Alfredo Simon (8-5, 4.18) vs. RHP Phil Hughes (7-6, 4.19); Sunday — TBA vs. RHP Kyle Gibson (7-6, 3.04).

Scouting report

Pelfrey, Twins: After a strong start — he checked the Tigers on three hits and a run in April — Pelfrey has scuffled. In his last three starts, covering 12 2/3 innings, he has allowed 14 runs, 26 hits and nine walks. Opponents are hitting .433 against him with a 1.033 OPS.

Price, Tigers: The Tigers are 14-3 when Price starts and since June, he is 4-0 with a 1.90 ERA and 44 strikeouts in 422/3 innings. Over that stretch he's used his four-seam fastball less (from 44 percent to 24 percent) and his sinker (from 14 percent to 28 percent) and change-up (from 18 to 24) more. He's made one other start at Safeco and pitched a complete game, allowing one run.