Tigers Notes: Victor Martinez late scratch against Athletics

DETROIT — Tigers designated hitter Victor Martinez hadn’t missed a game all year but was taken out of the lineup for Monday’s game.

"He’s got a little bit of soreness, kind of on his back side area," Tigers manager Brad Ausmus said. "He didn’t want to come out. He took BP and he looked OK but I just decided that I didn’t want to risk losing Vic for an extended period of time. So J.D.’s going to hit right in Victor’s spot and DH."

Victor Martinez is batting a team-best .323 with a team-high 20 home runs and 52 RBI. Only Miguel Cabrera has more RBI on the team with 64.

Ausmus said Victor Martinez is day-to-day.

"I can’t remember which side it was but kind of on the back side of the rib cage, sort of," Ausmus said. "Today was the first I heard about it. He said he felt it a little bit yesterday and he felt it again today so I just decided it would be better to take him out. He didn’t want to come out."

J.D. Martinez is batting .317 with nine home runs and 32 RBI.

RED-HOT ATHLETICS IN TOWN

The Tigers are not exactly struggling, coming off of a 7-2 road trip, but there’s no team hotter than the Oakland Athletics.

The A’s come to town with a league-best 51-30 record, leading the AL West by 5 1/2 games and with a four-game winning streak. The A’s have won nine of their last 11 and 11 of the last 14.

"I think both teams take a lot of pride in winning so that’s another factor that comes into play," Ausmus said. "I wasn’t here when they played against each other in the postseason, the way those series have gone. It probably adds a little bit. I won’t say the games are more valuable, win or loss-wise, but I think there’s probably a tick more energy."

The Tigers have Anibal Sanchez, Rick Porcello and Justin Verlander starting in this series, opposing the Athletics’ Scott Kazmir, Brad Mills and Jesse Chavez.

"When you meet a team that’s hot, you have a horse on the mound, a really good pitcher on the mound, a lot of times that can cut into a hot team," Ausmus said. "That’s one way you can kind of stop them in their tracks. Unfortunately, we both have pretty good pitchers going."

DAVIS LEADS OFF, JACKSON BATS NINTH

Austin Jackson is batting just .244 with three home runs and 22 RBI, but that’s not why he is batting ninth Monday.

"It was more about how Raj has done against Kazmir," Ausmus said. "Before I looked at the numbers I was going to hit Austin again at leadoff, but I just decided the way Raj has played against Kazmir, it would be a good spot for him. Don’t read into it."

In 18 at-bats against Kazmir, Davis has nine hits with one home run. Jackson is 3-for-15 against Kazmir.