Tigers always have chance with Cabrera, Martinez

Miguel Cabrera is congratulated by Torii Hunter after hitting a three-run home run against the Orioles.

GAIL BURTON

There’s one thing the Tigers and their fans know for sure — if you have Miguel Cabrera and Victor Martinez in your lineup, you always have a chance.

It certainly didn’t look good for the Tigers (23-12) as they struggled to put anything together in eight innings against Baltimore Orioles starter Ubaldo Jimenez and reliever Darren O’Day.

Orioles closer Tommy Hunter did not have the same success.

After Cabrera hit a three-run go-ahead home run with two outs in the top of the ninth, cameras showed him sitting in the dugout. 

Next to him was teammate Austin Jackson. The look on Jackson’s face was one that appeared to say, "Are you for real? Are you even human?"

What makes Tigers veteran Martinez a special hitter?

What led up to Cabrera’s home run was important as well. 

Alex Avila led off with a single and Rajai Davis ran for him. 

As expected, Davis immediately tried to steal, but was called out. Tigers manager Brad Ausmus challenged the call and the review showed Davis got his hand on the base before he was tagged, so Davis was safe at second with no outs.

After two straight outs, Torii Hunter came to bat. 

Orioles fans booed Hunter for Monday night’s kerfuffle with Bud Norris, in which Hunter took exception to getting hit in the ribs with a Norris fastball.

Hunter faced Tommy Hunter and the Tigers’ Hunter got the last laugh, working a seven-pitch walk after falling behind 1-2.

"I think that shows everybody what kind of team we have here," Martinez told FOX Sports Detroit’s John Keating on the field after the game. "We’re going out there and we keep grinding. There’s 27 outs in this game, you just never know what’s gonna happen. The key at-bat was Torii Hunter. I think it was the at-bat of the year so far, getting Miggy up to the plate. Miggy did what he has done his whole career."

Cabrera told Keating that he just tried to not to think about the situation too much.

"He work with the inside pitch, after that he went away," Cabrera said. "He throw me the inside pitch, I say. ‘OK, maybe he gonna try to throw away or something like that.’ Just make sure I put a good swing on the ball."

It was Cabrera’s 13th career go-ahead home run in the ninth inning or later. 

The last time he did it was Aug. 17, 2013 against the Kansas City Royals.

"I’ve faced him a lot when he was with Texas," Hunter told Keating. "I had several (important walks) but that was big because Miggy came up and hit the home run. That’s all you want is get Miggy to the plate. So I just had to battle and calm myself down, took a couple deep breaths every pitch and use my God-given ability."

Martinez followed up Cabrera’s home run with one of his own for the Tigers’ second straight 4-1 victory over the Orioles (20-17).

Martinez leads the Tigers with nine home runs. It’s the earliest in his career that he’s hit his ninth home run. In 2004, he hit his ninth on May 26.

Martinez’s home run was also notable because he became the second Tiger in history to have a home run reach Eutaw Street. The other was Mickey Tettleton on April 20, 1992.

Drew Smyly did not get the win, despite allowing just one run on Adam Jones’ home run in the first but he didn’t mind.

"That ninth inning was incredible," Smyly told Keating. "You know when Torii’s putting that at-bat together and then he draws that walk and Miggy’s coming up, you already know what’s coming next. Then of course he comes through, he’s the MVP. That ninth inning was good to see."

Justin Miller also enjoyed the ninth inning as Cabrera helped him get his first major league victory.

"That came to my mind afterwards," Miller told Keating. "What came to mind first is how far Miggy hit the ball and how far Victor hit that ball. That was just an amazing show. It was awesome.

"It’s something I’ll never forget. It’s a once-in-a-lifetime thing."