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Martinez's HR in 10th leads Tigers over Dodgers

Published on NewsOK Modified: April 10, 2014 at 2:44 am •  Published: April 10, 2014
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LOS ANGELES (AP) — Victor Martinez helped the Detroit Tigers overcome the struggles of Joe Nathan.

The Detroit Tigers' closer blew a three-run lead in the ninth inning Wednesday night against the Dodgers.

But Martinez picked him up in a big way with a leadoff home run in the 10th against Los Angeles closer Kenley Jansen, and Detroit pulled out a 7-6 victory in which both pitching staffs made a combined 382 pitches during the 4 hour, 16-minute marathon.

"Kenley Jansen is filthy, but Victor Martinez is a professional hitter," Tigers outfielder Torii Hunter said. "He's at the plate, just trying to figure you out, and I think he figured out how Jansen's ball moves.

"He was able to get inside of it and hit it out of the ballpark and come up with another clutch hit. That's what this team is capable of doing. We have some veteran guys who have good at-bats and can get the job done."

Martinez drove a 2-2 pitch deep into the pavilion seats in right-center to make a winner of Nathan (2-0).

One night earlier, Martinez tied the score with a two-out single in the ninth against Jansen before the Dodgers pulled out a 3-2 victory in 10.

"Vic takes hitting very seriously, and I think his main focus is to just try to get the barrel of the bat to the ball," manager Brad Ausmus said. "If you watch him on a regular basis, he's fighting to do that. And if a pitcher is trying to get him out, Victor is going to make it very difficult for him — especially with men on base."

Joba Chamberlain gave up a single to Hanley Ramirez to open the 10th. But left-hander Ian Krol struck out Adrian Gonzalez and Andre Ethier, and Al Albuquerque retired Matt Kemp on a grounder to get his first major league save.

Nathan, who said during a radio interview earlier in the day that he was experiencing a "dead arm" — and reiterated those thoughts in the clubhouse before batting practice, was trying to protect a 6-3 lead for Anabel Sanchez.

But Gonzalez led off with a home run to center field, and the Dodgers loaded the bases with walks to Ethier and Kemp and a single by Juan Uribe.

Yasiel Puig, who wasn't in the starting lineup for the third straight game because of a strained ligament in his left thumb, batted for Tim Federowicz and struck out. Pinch-hitter Scott Van Slyke got a run home with a fielder's choice grounder before Dee Gordon singled to right field, delivering Kemp with the tying run.

"Joe's stuff looked as crisp as we've see it, and he said he felt like that was the best stuff he's had, in terms of the break on his slider and the way the fastball came out of his hand," Ausmus said. "So maybe once he got out there, his arm played a little better than he mentioned earlier."

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