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Tigers waste J.D. Martinez blasts, lose in 13

Chris McCosky
The Detroit News

Detroit — J.D. Martinez was saying before the game that he felt an eruption coming, an offensive eruption.

“You guys have seen it; you know what it looks like when we’re all clicking, we’re all hitting,” he said. “I look around and this team is like a ticking time bomb right now, just waiting to go off.”

It went off. There were two eruptions, actually. But it didn't matter. The Tigers rallied from a 7-0 deficit early and an 11-8 deficit in the 12th inning. For naught.

The Orioles prevailed. Chris Davis, who had homered in the 12th inning, hit a two-run home run off Francisco Rodriguez in the 13th to give the Orioles a wild, 13-11 win.

BOX SCORE: Orioles 13, Tigers 11, 13 innings

“There are a lot of things you can take out of this game,” said Alex Avila, who had two clutch hits late in the game. “It’s not a game you are upset over. They fought hard and we did, too. They just happened to outlast us.

“Overall it was a good game. And, you know, strap it up and come back tomorrow because nobody is going to feel sorry for you.”

J.D. Martinez made his own premonition come true. He blasted a pair of home runs, including a go-ahead grand slam in the bottom of the seventh that took the Tigers from 7-4 down to 8-7 up.

The Tigers were one out away from the win. But with two outs in the top of ninth, after closer Justin Wilson had retired Adam Jones and Manny Machado, Mark Trumbo lined a home run to right field to tie it.


“He got the first three outs (the last out in the eighth, too) pretty easily,” manager Brad Ausmus said. “Trumbo got a ball up and out of the zone and he punched it out to right field. There’s a reason he led the league in home runs last year.”

The second offensive eruption came in the bottom of the 12th after the Orioles had taken an 11-8 lead, scoring three times (two unearned) off Blaine Hardy.

Off left-hander Donnie Hart, James McCann doubled and Ian Kinsler singled him home. Then Andrew Romine and Miguel Cabrera singled, making it 11-10.

Avila, who had a pinch-hit double in the 11th, singled home the tying run.

The Tigers still had runners on first and second and one out. But, just like back in the 11th, they couldn't plate the game-winner. The Orioles brought in another left-hander, Richard Bleier. Justin Upton hit into a fielder's choice, barely beating the throw.

After an intentional walk to J.D. Martinez — just like they did in the 11th — Tyler Collins, just like he did in the 11th, made the final out of the inning. Collins is mired in an 0-for-30 slump.

“We’ve been struggling offensively and swung the bats well and fought back twice,” Ausmus said. “I think that’s a plus. You obviously want to win the game. But we didn’t roll over and play dead, either.”

The Tigers were down to two relief pitchers in their bullpen, Rodriguez and Anibal Sanchez, who will cover the long relief role on Wednesday. And the Orioles jumped all over Rodriguez. A double by Trumbo and another massive home run, this one to right field, by Davis.

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Deflating, for sure.

“It's not about K-Rod,” Ausmus said. “I know you (media) like to point fingers and blame people, but that's not how it works. We're a team. Even before K-Rod got in there, we had the lead and then we fought back to tie it."

“No bullpen is perfect. You think the Orioles' bullpen is perfect? They also gave up a three-run lead. There are no perfect bullpens. Some bullpens are better than others, some have more talent. But there are no perfect bullpens. There is no 'pen with a zero ERA.”

The takeaway for the Tigers was the offense, which had been dormant at the end of the road trip in Anaheim.

J.D. Martinez's solo home run in the third inning, off starter Wade Miley, followed a two-run home run by Victor Martinez that cut the deficit to three, 7-4.

Then in the seventh, after Tigers’ left-hander Chad Bell had stopped the bleeding with four scoreless innings, Orioles’ reliever Mychal Givens walked the bases loaded.

Orioles Manager Buck Showalter brought in Brad Bach to face J.D. Martinez. On a 3-1 pitch, Martinez got a fastball over the heart of the plate and sent it 425 feet into the right-center field seats.

“I’ve known him all my life,” Avila said of Martinez. “He was a guy that had good power and he's made himself into someone that can hit on a consistent basis … He's done a tremendous job being able to transform himself and be able to stick with it and trust in his ability.

“I've been extremely impressed with him since he came over here. And I'm very happy for him, too. He's going to be big for us going down the stretch.”

Martinez, who was getting treatment on his right foot and unavailable afterward, has four home runs in 15 plate appearances since coming off the disabled list.

It was quite a recovery from a seven-run uprising by the Orioles, off starter Matthew Boyd, in the third.

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“We did a good job of coming back,” Avila said. “A lot of times, when you're down 7-1, it can be tough. But guys continued to put good at-bats together and obviously with the grand slam with J.D., that was exciting. That's what we're capable of. We know that.

“We obviously didn't get the start that we wanted to. I know Boyd was pretty upset about that. But that's going to happen. When that happens, we've got to be able to pick him up.”

Boyd has been through this before. Twice last season, in fact, he gave up seven runs on eight hits – just like he did in a forgettable 2⅓ innings against the Orioles Tuesday.

And he responded to both by limiting the opposition to a single run his next time out. That’s the consolation.

“It’s an easy fix,” Boyd said. “I know what I need to do and I plan on making the adjustment. I can’t wait for the next one.”

The Orioles barreled up everything he threw at them in the third inning.

J.J. Hardy led off with a home run on high, 1-2 change-up. With one out, Jones and Machado whacked back-to-back doubles. Machado saw two pitches from Boyd in two at-bats — single and double.

After a single by Trumbo, Davis doubled off the center field wall on an 0-2 pitch. Jonathan Schoop walked and Wellington Castillo ended Boyd’s misery with a two-run single.

“He looked out of sync from the second inning on,” Ausmus said. “He was out of whack mechanically. He was dropping his arm and slowing down on his change-up. He seemed out of sync.”

But the Tigers got back into the game, thanks in no small part to Bell’s work. He pitched four scoreless innings, allowing three hits with three strikeouts. He has not been scored upon in 6⅔ innings since being called up from Toledo.

“We don’t have an opportunity to win the game if Bell doesn’t pitch as well as he did for as long as he did,” Ausmus said. “

Twitter@cmccosky