Martinez hits 26th homer, Tigers beat Orioles 7-3
DETROIT (AP) J.D. Martinez made the defensive play of the game, and Jose Iglesias hit the biggest home run.
Talk about a role reversal for these two Detroit All-Stars.
''A lot of weird stuff happened today,'' Martinez said.
The slugging Martinez made a terrific catch against the wall in right field, and the slick-fielding Iglesias hit a three-run homer to lead the Tigers to a 7-3 victory over the Baltimore Orioles on Friday night. J.D. and Victor Martinez both went deep for Detroit as well.
Anibal Sanchez (9-7) worked in and out of trouble for six innings in the first meeting between these teams since Baltimore swept Detroit in last year's AL Division Series.
With the Tigers up 3-1 in the third, J.D. Martinez reached up to catch Chris Davis' drive when it looked like the ball might clear the wall in right.
''It was up in the air for a while. It gave me time to get to the wall and just time it up right,'' Martinez said. ''You don't see me do that too many times. Really not my game, but hey, I'll take it.''
In the fifth, he added a solo homer, his 26th of the year, moving momentarily into a tie for the AL lead before Mike Trout of the Los Angeles Angels hit his 27th later in the night.
Ubaldo Jimenez (7-5) allowed seven runs and seven hits in 4 2-3 innings. He struck out five.
Detroit and Baltimore came into this game with identical 44-44 records - and there has even been talk that the Tigers might be better off trading some of their pending free agents and focusing on 2016. Both teams are still in the postseason race, though, and Sanchez won his sixth straight decision. He allowed two runs and eight hits.
Victor Martinez hit a two-run homer in the first inning, and Anthony Gose's RBI double in the second made it 3-1. The Orioles loaded the bases with no outs in the fourth, but they managed only one run on an RBI fielder's choice by Chris Parmelee.
Jimmy Paredes lined out to right to end the Baltimore fourth - J.D. Martinez came in to make the catch, only to have the ball nearly sail over his head.
Iglesias homered to left in the bottom of the inning to make it 6-2. It was the shortstop's second of the year and sixth of his career.
''That's why we have him - to hit homers,'' manager Brad Ausmus deadpanned.
When that comment was relayed to Iglesias, he played along.
''Yeah, he's right,'' Iglesias said. ''You're never looking for one. You just try to put some quality at-bats, put a good swing consistency, and eventually it's going to happen.''
The Orioles went 1 for 14 with men in scoring position.
CLOSING IT OUT
Joakim Soria, who allowed four runs without retiring a batter in his previous appearance July 10, pitched the ninth in a non-save situation. Two of the first three hitters reached base against him, but he struck out Davis and retired Matt Weiters on a groundout to end it.
Jimenez had allowed only one run over his previous three starts, but the seven he allowed to Detroit were easily his most all season.
''I was having trouble gripping my breaking balls all night,'' he said. ''I didn't have my slider at all, and the splitter was good at times and then it wasn't doing anything at other times.''
Orioles: Manager Buck Showalter says RHP Jason Garcia (right shoulder tendinitis) has been throwing with good velocity and feels good physically. Garcia began a rehab assignment earlier this month.
Tigers: Ausmus said there's nothing new to report on slugger Miguel Cabrera, who has been recovering from a left calf strain. Cabrera is expected back next month.
Detroit LHP David Price (9-2) faces Baltimore RHP Chris Tillman (6-7) on Saturday night. The Tigers are 15-3 this year when Price pitches.