DETROIT (AP) — The Detroit Tigers could use more power from their designated hitter, and Victor Martinez is finally providing some.
Martinez hit a two-run homer off Dylan Bundy to put Detroit ahead in the fifth inning, and the Tigers went on to a 6-5 victory over the Baltimore Orioles on Thursday. It was the second home run in three games for Martinez, who had gone deep only once previously on the season.
After a sluggish start, Martinez is hitting .360 in May.
“A little more luck, finding holes. That’s it,” he said. “You don’t get paid just to put a good swing and hit the ball right at people, because at the end of the day, fans, everybody is going to say that you’re struggling, but the reality is that you’re hitting the ball good, right at people. That doesn’t count. Everybody wants results, right?”
The Tigers will now be without Martinez for a little while. He’s set to go on the paternity list Friday, and he said after Thursday’s game that his wife is having a cesarean section. Manager Brad Ausmus said Detroit would call up right-hander Buck Farmer.
Detroit took two of three from the Orioles. J.D. Martinez hit a three-run shot in the third, and the Tigers ended a streak of eight straight quality starts by Bundy (5-2) to begin the season. The Baltimore right-hander allowed six runs and eight hits in six innings.
Jordan Zimmermann (4-2) allowed four runs and seven hits in six innings, and three relievers finished for Detroit. Alex Wilson pitched a perfect ninth for his second save.
Chris Davis, Adam Jones and Seth Smith homered for the Orioles. Baltimore led 3-0 before J.D. Martinez tied it with his fifth home run in six games.
“I wasn’t commanding the ball very well and they made me pay for it,” Bundy said. “Three pitches I left up in the zone, and two of them they hit out of the park and it cost me today.”
Detroit’s Miguel Cabrera sat out with a strained oblique, and Baltimore’s Manny Machado was out with a sore finger.
Jones hit a solo shot in the fifth to put the Orioles ahead 4-3, but after J.D. Martinez drew a one-out walk in the bottom half, Victor Martinez followed with a drive to right.
“He was obviously struggling early and slowly came around,” Ausmus said. “Now he’s actually driving the ball. He’s hit a few home runs here lately, but he’s hitting balls in the gaps. Even some of the outs are deep center field.”
Alex Avila added an RBI double that inning to make it 6-4.
Smith’s home run in the seventh cut the deficit in half, but Detroit’s bullpen was able to hold on.
Davis opened the scoring with a two-run homer in the first, and Smith’s RBI single in the second made it 3-0.
J.D. Martinez didn’t play at all this season until last Friday, when he returned from a sprained foot. Since coming off the disabled list, he is 8 for 16 with five homers, 11 RBIs, seven runs and nine walks.
“He rolled out of bed hot,” Ausmus said. “I hope he doesn’t cool down for another 4½ months.”
The Orioles have lost six of seven, although all six of those defeats were by one run.
“It seems like every time we do something offensively, we go out there and kind of give it back up,” manager Buck Showalter said. “Those shut-down innings haven’t been there for us and to get the opportunity to go back in the dugout and try to add on. It seems like we’re always trying to dig ourselves out of a hole.”
Orioles: Smith was shaken up in the fifth when a ball he hit bounced up and hit him in the left side of the face while he was in the batter’s box. He was able to stay in the game.
Orioles: Baltimore starts a three-game home series against Toronto on Friday night. RHP Chris Tillman (1-0) starts for the Orioles against RHP Aaron Sanchez (0-1).
Tigers: Detroit sends LHP Daniel Norris (2-2) to the mound against Texas RHP Nick Martinez (0-2) in the opener of a three-game set against the Rangers.