Martinez and Tigers hold off Ortiz, Red Sox in 7-6 victory
DETROIT (AP) — Victor Martinez pulled a couple of line drives foul, and it was clear he was having little trouble making good contact against Junichi Tazawa.
Moments later, Martinez connected again. This time the ball stayed fair and sailed far beyond the wall in right field.
“You want to square the ball up every time you’re going to the plate,” Martinez said. “At some point, you definitely want results.”
Martinez hit a two-run homer in the seventh inning and the Detroit Tigers held off David Ortiz and the Red Sox after that, beating Boston 7-6 on Saturday night. Ortiz had three hits, including a home run in the sixth.
Ortiz’s two-run single in the seventh gave Boston a 6-5 lead, but Martinez answered with a long drive down the line off Tazawa (2-5).
“Left-handers have been getting very good swings off him in the last few outings and that’s what happened again tonight,” Red Sox manager John Farrell said. “He left a 2-2 splitter up in the middle of the zone, and Victor crushed it.”
Rajai Davis also homered for the Tigers, and Ian Kinsler and James McCann had three hits apiece. Blaine Hardy (4-2) won in relief.
Bruce Rondon pitched a hitless ninth for his first save of the season. He walked Ortiz with two outs before striking out Pablo Sandoval.
Blake Swihart had three hits for the Red Sox.
The Tigers have gone through a tumultuous couple of weeks. They traded David Price and two other key players before the July 31 deadline, and general manager Dave Dombrowski was let go Tuesday. On Friday, McCann and shortstop Jose Iglesias got into an altercation in the dugout.
Detroit fell behind 2-0 on Saturday but eventually prevailed in an entertaining, back-and-forth game. Davis hit a two-run homer to tie it in the fifth, only to have Ortiz answer with a solo shot in the sixth.
J.D. Martinez tied it in the bottom of the sixth with an RBI double and later came home on a wild pitch. McCann’s run-scoring double made it 5-3.
With the score 5-4 and the bases loaded with two outs in the seventh, Hardy replaced Detroit starter Alfredo Simon. Ortiz grounded a single up the middle to put the Red Sox back ahead.
“I obviously didn’t necessarily do my job, facing the first hitter,” Hardy said. “I had confidence that we were going to come back. I didn’t expect two runs right off the bat, but I was expecting at least one.”
Victor Martinez’s ninth home run of the year made it 7-6, and Hardy worked around a hit and a walk in the eighth to preserve Detroit’s one-run advantage before Rondon took over.
RIGHT AT HOME
In 54 games at Comerica Park, Ortiz has 21 homers — the most by a visiting player.
“He’s been great. There’s power, there’s plate coverage and he’s able to hit the pitcher’s pitches when he needs it,” Farrell said. “Today, he got two strikes with Hardy and he battled until he got a pitch he could hit.”
Simon allowed six runs and nine hits in 6 2-3 innings, while Boston starter Wade Miley yielded five runs and nine hits in six innings.
Miley walked one and struck out six.
“The first two times through the order I had been throwing a lot of hard stuff, and they were starting to foul off my fastball,” Miley said. “So I decided to go soft the third time through the order. In retrospect, I wish I hadn’t done that.”
Detroit optioned RHP Shane Greene to Triple-A Toledo and will purchase the contract of LHP Tom Gorzelanny on Sunday.
Red Sox: LF Hanley Ramirez was a late scratch because of a sore left foot and is questionable for Sunday’s game, Farrell said. ... Boston was without closer Koji Uehara, hit on his pitching arm by a line drive the previous night. Farrell said it might be a stretch to bring Uehara back at all this weekend.
Tigers: Rondon closed the game because RHP Alex Wilson was unavailable with what manager Brad Ausmus said was shoulder fatigue. ... Simon, who has dealt with a groin issue lately, threw 98 pitches.
Detroit’s Justin Verlander (1-4) takes the mound against Boston’s Henry Owens (0-1) in Sunday’s series finale.