By Brittany Ghiroli and Alejandro Zúñiga
DETROIT -- For the fourth time in their last eight games, the Tigers blasted at least three home runs. Orioles right-hander Ubaldo Jimenez served them up Friday night at Comerica Park as Detroit opened the second half with a 7-3 win.
Designated hitter Victor Martinez put the Tigers ahead in the first inning, sending Jimenez's 92-mph fastball deep into the seats in right field. Shortstop Jose Iglesias delivered his second homer of the year with a three-run shot in the fourth, and right fielder J.D. Martinez continued his red-hot summer and ended Jimenez's night with a solo blast in the fifth.
Meanwhile, despite putting the leadoff runner on base in four of the first six innings, the Orioles managed just two runs against Detroit starter Anibal Sanchez. Baltimore dropped to 3-11 over its last 14 games and is under .500 (at 44-45) for the first time since June 11.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED Flashing the leather: Sanchez allowed eight hits, but the Tigers limited the damage with several fine defensive plays. J.D. Martinez made a pair of of them, robbing a potential home run by Chris Davis in the third inning and then making a leaping catch on a Jimmy Paredes line drive with the bases loaded to end the fourth. Then, second baseman Ian Kinsler started a double play in the fifth by jumping to snare a line drive from Davis and picking Adam Jones off first.
"He's got a comfort level, especially at Comerica Park," Ausmus said of Martinez. "He knows where the wall is; he knows the angles. He seems more at ease out there than he did a year ago."
Jimenez of old: The righty turned in his worst start of the season, allowing a season-high seven earned runs over 4 2/3 innings. Jimenez -- who has turned things around after a disappointing 2014 -- surrendered three home runs, which matched the total allowed from his previous seven starts.
"As a pitcher you want to go out there and compete and give your team a chance to win," said Jimenez, who struggled with his breaking ball. "Especially when you finish off the first half losing. But it doesn't matter how much you want it, sometimes it goes like that. You have to keep moving forward."
Starting from the bottom: Iglesias and center fielder Anthony Gose, Detroit's No. 8 and 9 hitters, combined to go 3-for-6 with four RBIs and two runs scored. After Iglesias was hit by a pitch and swiped second base with two outs in the second inning, Gose drove in the shortstop with a ground-rule double to center. Iglesias homered in the fourth, and Gose doubled again in the sixth.
"[Gose] has really improved as a hitter," Ausmus said. "He got off to a hot start early, but he's really improved on breaking balls in the last month or so."
Same story for O's bats: An Orioles team that went hitless with runners in scoring position in the three-game series before the All-Star break again struggled to find clutch at-bats. Baltimore went 1-for-14 with runners in scoring position on Friday and left 11 men on base. The O's entered the game second in the American League in batting average with runners in scoring position, although they were 29th in at-bats in those scenarios. More >
"I don't know," Orioles shortstop J.J. Hardy said. "This game, I think when you think about stuff, a lot of times you make it worse. And when it is brought to our attention when we're struggling, and we notice that we're struggling, you just add a little bit more pressure. And that ain't good. That ain't good when you add pressure, it's already tough enough."
'JUST DEFENSE' MARTINEZ
Named to the All-Star Game mostly because of his bat, J.D. Martinez wowed the crowd with his defense, taking a potential two-run homer away from Davis to end the top of the third. Davis' blast down the right-field line seemed destined to land in the seats, but Martinez measured the trajectory and pulled the ball back as it crossed over the wall. More >
"You don't see me do that too many times," Martinez said. "It's really not my game."
"That's why we have him -- to hit homers." -- Ausmus, deadpanning, as he described his reaction to Iglesias' home run, the sixth of the shortstop's career
"You're never looking for one. You just try to put some quality at-bats, put some swing consistency. Eventually, it's going to happen." -- IglesiasMore >
"We know how hard it is. You go up there and hit a line drive at somebody or a ball that a guy has to go over the fence to catch. Does that mean you've failed? I try to stay in reality whereas people kind of lose some sense of it." -- Orioles manager Buck Showalter, on his team's offensive struggles
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
The Tigers have won each of Sanchez's last seven starts. The right-hander is 6-0 with a 2.86 ERA over that span.
WHAT'S NEXT Orioles:Chris Tillman will take the ball on Saturday night (7:08 ET), hoping to turn around his season in the second half. The righty, who was the O's Opening Day starter, went 6-7 with a 5.40 ERA in the first half.
Tigers: Ace David Price, who hasn't taken a loss since May, starts for Detroit in search of his 10th win of the season. The Tigers are 15-3 when the left-hander starts. He last pitched in the All-Star Game, earning the win by retiring Bryce Harper, Paul Goldschmidt and Buster Posey in order in the fourth inning.