ST. PETERSBURG -- Victor Martinez shook his head after he hit the catwalk at the back of Tropicana Field in his third at-bat of Friday's 10-2 Tigers win over the Rays. He got too far in front of ex-teammate Drew Smyly's offering, and he ended up striking out on the cutter.
An inning later, he switched sides of the plate against Danny Farquhar and knew he got all of a pitch. But he couldn't figure out why he didn't see the ball go out.
"I got a little scared when I was touching first base," Martinez said. "I saw the ball landing on the warning track and I was like, 'What just happened? I thought I crushed that ball.'"
Martinez had crushed it. He just hit a catwalk again, this one higher up than the last. He was the ninth player to hit the C-level catwalk this year, punctuating the three-run homer that stretched the Tigers' lead to 7-0.
The switch-hitter turned around and hit another three-run homer in the ninth, this time off a hanging breaking ball from lefty Enny Romero, but it didn't hit a catwalk. It landed in the front row of the left-field seats on a direct path.
With that, Martinez had his second two-homer game in six days, and 16 home runs on the season, putting him on pace to challenge his 32-homer campaign from two years ago. He also became the first Tigers player with two homers of three runs or greater since Bobby Higginson on June 13, 2000.
"Obviously he was the big offensive player tonight for us," manager Brad Ausmus said of Martinez. "The first one was a monster shot, probably as far as I've seen. Both three-run homers. That's six of our 10 runs right there."
That's also six more RBIs for Martinez at Tropicana Field, which might as well feel like home for him. A resident up Interstate 4 in the Orlando area, Martinez is a career .368 hitter with 10 home runs and 32 RBIs in 42 career games at the Trop. Nowhere does he have a higher average with at least 10 games there.
He can't explain it. He just tries to take advantage.
"I wish I knew," Martinez said. "but everywhere I go, I'm just trying to be a tough out."
Jason Beck has covered the Tigers for MLB.com since 2002. Read Beck's Blog, follow him on Twitter @beckjason and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.