Tigers 4, Orioles 3(11)
It has been obvious for months that the Detroit Tigers made one
of baseball’s best moves when they signed Victor Martinez as a free
On Friday night, Martinez proved it one more time.
His run-scoring double in the 11th inning gave Detroit a 4-3
victory over the Baltimore Orioles.
Brandon Inge started the inning with a walk off Willie Eyre
(2-2), and Miguel Cabrera, who hit a two-run homer in the first
inning, hit a one-out single. Rookie Zach Phillips came on to face
Martinez and gave up the game-ending double on an 0-2 pitch.
”You’d rather be lucky than good,” Martinez said. ”I wasn’t
expecting it on 0-2, but he really hung a pitch and I was able to
hit it hard. Still, it feels great when you can do something to
help your team win a game.”
The Tigers and Texas Rangers, who beat Seattle 5-3 on Friday,
remained tied for the second-best record in the American League,
with Detroit holding the tiebreaker because of a better
”This was a good tonic for us and a good win,” Tigers manager
Jim Leyland said. ”We needed to get this one, obviously, because
Texas was winning. We wanted it, and we got it.”
Alfredo Simon pitched eight innings for Baltimore, allowing
three runs and six hits.
”I felt really strong out there,” Simon said. ”I thought I
threw a very good game against a great lineup.”
Rick Porcello, expected to be the fourth pitcher in Detroit’s
postseason rotation, allowed three runs, nine hits and a walk in
”I thought Porcello was terrific,” Leyland said. ”He really
had his sinker working against a good offensive team that has been
beating people up.”
Ryan Perry (1-0), who is battling for a roster spot in October,
got the win with a scoreless 11th.
”We’re trying to get those guys into pressure situations,
because we’re still using everyone and still looking around and
sniffing around a little bit to see about our roster,” Leyland
said. ”So that’s good.”
Detroit tied the game at 3 in the fifth when Jhonny Peralta led
off with a double and scored on Ramon Santiago’s second single of
The Tigers threatened in the ninth. Cabrera singled off Jim
Johnson with one out. After a groundout moved Cabrera to second,
Alex Avila was intentionally walked. Johnson got Peralta on a
called third strike to send the game to extra innings.
The Orioles took a 1-0 lead in the first on Vladimir Guerrero’s
RBI double, but the Tigers came back in the bottom of the inning on
Cabrera’s 27th homer deep into the stands in left field.
”I had just thrown a breaking ball for a strike, so I wanted to
come inside with a fastball,” Simon said. ”I put it right where I
wanted it, and he still hit it that far. I don’t know how he even
hit the ball, much less hit it like that. I guess that’s why he’s
the best hitter in baseball.”
The homer gave Cabrera 100 RBIs, making him the first Tiger
since Norm Cash and Rocky Colavito in 1961 to have triple digits in
runs, RBIs and walks.
”He’s a star,” Leyland said. ”There’s absolutely no question
about that. I just don’t want an MVP boxing match between him and
(Justin) Verlander in the next couple days.”
Baltimore got two runs in the third. Robert Andino and J.J.
Hardy led off the inning with infield singles and moved up on a
wild pitch. Nick Markakis tied the game with a sacrifice fly, and
Matt Wieters put the Orioles ahead with an RBI single.
NOTES: The four-game series continues Saturday night with
Verlander (24-5) going for his 13th straight win in his final
regular-season start against Baltimore’s Jeremy Guthrie (9-17). …
Leyland said before the game that, while he will not start
Verlander on short rest in a first-round series, he might consider
it in the ALCS or World Series. … Tigers 3B Wilson Betemit (knee)
was originally scheduled to start on Friday, but Leyland decided
against it because of the cold, damp conditions. … Detroit’s
Joaquin Benoit hasn’t allowed a run in his last 20 appearances,
spanning 20 2-3 innings. … Cabrera widened his gap over Martinez
in their friendly RBI race to two.