Tigers pay back White Sox with offensive fireworks
Miggy, Fielder and Martinez go 9-for-13 with five RBIs
DETROIT -- When Victor Martinez is swinging the bat well, he helps out the two sluggers in front of him -- Miguel Cabrera and Prince Fielder. Those three hitters combined for nine hits, five RBIs and four runs scored to help the Tigers to an 8-5 win against the White Sox on Wednesday night at Comerica Park.
Martinez extended his hitting streak to 12 games, improving his batting average from .225 to .254 during that stretch.
"Base hits to right, base hits to left, he's starting to get back to the Victor we know, so we'll take that. I like that a lot," Tigers manager Jim Leyland said. "We talked before the game today, base hits come by design, home runs come by mistake. I think his approach right now is terrific, it's getting back to where it was a couple of years ago."
The Tigers had 15 hits and scored all of their runs with two outs.
"I thought we really had a terrific approach, I really do," Leyland said. "I thought we did a really good job of not trying to do too much and just taking what was there, and I thought we did pretty good at that tonight."
With Martinez getting hot, Fielder and Cabrera are starting to see better pitches. Fielder smashed a two-run home run in the first inning against White Sox starter Dylan Axelrod, on his way to his third three-hit game of the season.
"[Fielder] has been really swinging the bat great," Martinez said. "A lot of the times, he's been hitting right at people, but finally today he was able to find some holes. Everybody is going to go through some tough stretches in the whole season, it happens. He's a great hitter, and there's no doubt about it. I don't think there's any pitcher that wants to face him or Miggy."
With those two hitting well, it gives the Tigers the formidable middle of the order they dreamed about entering the season.
"[The middle of the order is] here to win games," Cabrera said. "If we get one hit, two hits and we win, that's all that matters. You know we got a lot of run support today, and hopefully we can do that more often."
Martinez's teammates have said all season long that he was hitting the ball well, just right to where the fielders were positioned. According to Fangraphs, he's batting .261 this season on balls in play, which is much lower than his .312 career average.
"I think they started falling, for sure," Martinez said. "I've been taking good at-bats, putting good swings, and finally finding some holes."
Besides a shaky fourth inning, Rick Porcello shut down Chicago, giving up three runs on seven hits over six innings while striking out six.
"[Porcello] didn't have his best command, but I thought he really battled hard and made some pitches when he had to," Leyland said. "His curveball was either a little bit too high or sometimes a little bit too low, he couldn't find that happy medium. But overall, he did a good job."
However, it's the lineup, when running at its full potential, that causes opposing managers to fret and worry.
"If you're not sharp, they're good hitters. They're professional hitters," White Sox manager Robin Ventura said. "They know how to go the other way. Even when they blew it open, everything is going the other way, staying inside of it, hitting it hard. If you're not sharp going through this lineup, it's not good news."
With the lineup clicking -- eight Tigers reached base on Wednesday -- it'll not only pick the pitchers up, but it'll also give extra motivation to the hitters.
"We have a good lineup. Everybody went out there and put up good swings, put up good at-bats, and that's just contagious," Martinez said. "When you see everyone going out there and battling in every at-bat, there's no reason for you going out there and not battling in your at-bat, and I think we've been doing a great job of that."