J.D. Martinez hits two homers against former team, Dodgers down Tigers, 8-3

Detroit News

Los Angeles — J.D. Martinez was the first player to greet Miguel Cabrera before the game as the Dodgers honored the Tigers’ future Hall-of-Famer in his last visit to Dodger Stadium.

The Dodgers presented Cabrera with a check for $5,000 for his foundation, a case of expensive alcohol and his very own Hollywood star.

And then Martinez completely ruined the Tigers’ night.

The former Tiger (2014-2017) hit a pair of home runs, singled and knocked in five as the Dodgers snapped the Tigers’ four-game win streak with an 8-3 win Monday night.

Both homers came off lefty ace Eduardo Rodriguez, who nixed a trade deadline deal that would have sent him to Los Angeles for their playoff run. If there were any bad feelings about that, the fans did a good job of hiding them. They barely reacted when he was announced before the game.

The Dodgers, meanwhile, treated Rodriguez like they’ve treated most pitchers this season. They clobbered him. But it had nothing to do with his decision to stay with the Tigers.

“You know, everybody makes their decisions,” Martinez told reporters. “Everyone’s got their choices why they did it. He texted me and apologized why he couldn’t text back and stuff like that. It was a family decision. I get it man. He’s got to do what he’s got to do for him. It’s understandable.

“Obviously we wanted him here but it is what it is.”

Martinez led off the second inning with his 27th home run of the year, lining a 93-mph heater over the right-field wall.

He came up again with two on and two out in the third, on the heels of Rodriguez’s 12-pitch battle with Will Smith. Smith fouled off five 2-2 pitches before lining a sacrifice fly to right.

BOX SCORE: Dodgers 8, Tigers 3

Martinez turned on a 1-1 cutter that was up and in and pulled homer No. 28 395 feet down the line in left. The ball left his bat at 109.5 mph.

Manager AJ Hinch wasn’t accepting any cause-and-effect between the Smith at-bat and the Martinez homer.

“It can be paired together results-wise,” Hinch said. “Those battles take a lot out. But there’s no guarantee the next pitch is going to be mis-located and J.D. is going to pull a high, inside pitch for a homer. But it was a big battle won by Will Smith.”

Rodriguez would throw just nine more pitches in the game.

He gave up a leadoff single in the fourth to Max Muncy and then seemed to tweak something in his upper body on a pitch to Chris Taylor. He threw one test pitch and sailed it to the backstop. He came out of the game at that point.

“He had a scapula spasm,” Hinch said. “It was either on that pitch (to Taylor) or the one before. When we went out there, he just wanted to take a breath. He had a little bit of a hard time settling down but he wanted to throw a pitch. We all saw the pitch and then we took him out.”

Hinch said Rodriguez will be re-evaluated Tuesday morning. If he’s able, he would have two starts left this season.

“His health is our No. 1 priority,” Hinch said. “He really wanted to throw a (test) pitch and he thought it was just a spasm and he was going to be fine. But when he threw it, he was very uncomfortable.”

The Tigers didn’t roll over, at least not initially.

Catcher Jake Rogers continued his home run binge with a three-run shot in the third inning. It was his third homer in two games, his fourth on this road trip and 20th on the year.

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“He gave us a chance,” Hinch said. “We were going to need a big boost to get back into the game and Jake provided it. We had runners on base just about every inning (against Dodger starter Lance Lynn). We needed the big swing to get back in it, we got it, but we just couldn’t keep up with them.”

Roger is now one of seven primary catchers (caught at least 60% of the games they played) in Tigers’ history to hit 20 homers in a season. He joins Rudy York, Bill Freehan, Mickey Tettleton, Lance Parrish, Matt Nokes and Eric Haase.

In his six games, Rogers is 10-for-26 with four home runs, eight RBI and eight runs scored.

One of the two runners on base for Rogers’ blast was Cabrera, who started the two-out rally with a single to right. It was his 3,166th career hit, tying him with his friend Adrian Beltre for 16th on baseball’s all-time hit list.

Kerry Carpenter was the other base runner ahead of Rogers’ homer. He walked, doubled and singled.

But the Tigers left six runners on in the first three innings against Lynn.

“You have to take advantage when you get guys on base,” said Zach McKinstry, a former Dodger. “You have to make sure you’re getting them over and doing your job. Or drive them in like Rog did. We have a lot of young players here. We’ll learn. We’re only going to get better.

“This year we learned a lot. We’re going to keep working on it and keep getting better and we’re going to take it into next year.”

With a bullpen game scheduled for Tuesday — with Miguel Diaz opening — having to cover at least five innings with relievers Monday was sub-optimal.

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Righty Trey Wingenter got the hurry-up call after Rodriguez went out and got six straight outs. But the Dodgers tacked on a run in the sixth, though right-hander Jose Cisnero probably deserved a better fate.

The two-out walk to Muncy was on him. But with two outs, he got Chris Taylor to roll a ground ball to the right of shortstop Javier Báez. It was a relatively routine backhand play but the ball rolled up Báez’s arm and he had no play.

It was scored a base hit. Kiki Hernandez followed with an RBI single and a dubious earned run was charged to Cisnero’s ledger.

Miguel Rojas led off the seventh with a solo home run off Cisnero. There was nothing dubious about that earned run. Or the second run the Dodgers scored off him in the seventh.

Another walk bit him. He walked Freddie Freeman with one out. Freeman stole second, went to third on a wild pitch and scored on a single by Martinez. With the five RBI, Martinez has 91 on the season.

Freeman is stacking big numbers in multiple categories, too. He’s produced a Major League-most 55 doubles, 26 homers, 93 RBI and, astonishingly, he’s stolen 20 bases in 21 attempts.

The Dodgers’ bullpen − Alex Vesia, Caleb Ferguson, Shelby Miller and Joe Kelly − set down the last 12 Tigers hitters in a row.

Rojas probably summed up the Dodgers’ attitude about Rodriguez staying put the best.

“I just feel like everybody has different reasons and opinions about their own careers,” he said. “We respect Eduardo’s opinion and reason why he didn’t want to come here. I mean, you have to respect that as a player. You never know what is going on in his life.

“We take care of what we can control, which is our clubhouse and we just move on.”


Twitter/X: @cmccosky

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