By Dave Hart
Tigers 4, Orioles 3 – Victor Martinez blasted a deep solo home run to right-center in the bottom of the eighth inning to give the Tigers a crucial series opening win against the Baltimore Orioles on Friday night.
The Tigers jumped out to a 3-0 lead scoring one run in the second and two in the fifth inning.
Baltimore’s Jonathan Schoop cut the Orioles deficit to 3-2 with a two-run home run in the sixth inning.
J.D. Martinez paced the Tigers offense with three hits and two RBIs while Erick Aybar chipped in with an RBI double.
Detroit’s starting pitcher Michael Fulmer tossed a no-decision, allowing two runs on three hits in seven innings.
Tigers’ relief pitcher Alex Wilson picked up the victory while Francisco Rodriguez notched his 40th save of the season.
The Tigers are now 76-64 on the season, good for second place in the American League Central Division behind the Cleveland Indians.
Detroit will look to take over the lead for the final playoff spot with a win over the Orioles on Saturday night.
2nd Place in AL Central Division (6 games behind first-place Cleveland)
Tied with Baltimore for the last playoff spot
Magic # to clinch a playoff spot: 23
Magic # to clinch an AL Central Division title: 29
Next Game: 09/10/2016 vs Baltimore Orioles 7:10 p.m. @ Comerica Park
Hitting stats: Victor Martinez HR (24) RBI (76), J.D. Martinez 2 RBI (58), Erick Aybar 2B (17) RBI (29), Ian Kinsler SB (14)
Pitching stats: Alex Wilson W (3-0) 1 IP 2 H 1 R 1 ER 0 BB 2 K, Francisco Rodriguez SV (40) 1 IP 0 H 0 R 0 ER 0 BB 0 K, Michael Fulmer 7 IP 3 H 2 R 2 ER 1 BB 5 K.