ANAHEIM -- J.D. Martinez crushed his first two home runs of the season, including a go-ahead blast off Bud Norris in the top of the ninth inning, to lift the Tigers to a 4-3 win over the Angels on Saturday night at Angel Stadium.
Martinez, who was activated from the disabled list Friday after missing the first 33 games of the season with a right midfoot sprain, hammered a 1-1 slider from Norris to right field, snapping a 3-3 tie and producing the game-winning run for the Tigers. Martinez, who also launched a two-run shot off Angels starter Ricky Nolasco in the second, finished the night with three RBIs and his second career multi-homer game.
"I'm just happy I was able to contribute in the win today," Martinez said. "I've been down there just watching the team, wishing I could do something, and every time we lose it's one of those frustrating things, so just happy to be back and be able to help us win a game."
Left-hander Justin Wilson struck out the side in the ninth to seal the win and pick up his second save of the season. The Tigers, who have won two of the first three games of this four-game set, can secure a series victory Sunday. Detroit has not won a series at Angel Stadium since 2009.
"This has been a tough place for us to win, and obviously J.D., you can tell how much we've missed him, just from this one game," said Tigers manager Brad Ausmus.
All four of the Tigers' runs came via home runs, as Justin Upton also hit a solo shot off Nolasco that briefly gave Detroit a 3-2 lead in the sixth. Nolasco was charged with three runs on five hits over six innings and has now permitted 13 homers this season, the third-most in the Majors.
"Obviously, I don't want to give up those homers," Nolasco said. "They're at a rate that's not normal, but at the same time, they're pitches that should be getting hit, so they're getting out. If I just clean it up a little bit, it should be OK."
Tigers left-hander Daniel Norris yielded two runs on seven hits over 5 2/3 innings and departed with a 3-2 lead, but Mike Trout evened the game by blasting a 431-foot shot off reliever Shane Greene in the bottom of the seventh. It was Trout's 10th homer of the season and his second in as many days.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED Pujols ties it: The Angels entered the fifth inning down, 2-0, but they generated a two-out rally against Norris after Martin Maldonado and Yunel Escobar hit back-to-back singles and Trout reached via a hit-by-pitch to load the bases for Pujols. The 37-year-old Angels slugger then delivered a two-run single to left field, tying the game at 2.
The clutch hit gave Pujols his 1,844th career RBI, tying him with Carl Yastrzemski for 11th on MLB's all-time list, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. More >
There was one casualty on the play, however, as Escobar experienced tightness in his hamstring while scoring from second and was replaced at third base by Cliff Pennington in the following inning. Angels manager Mike Scioscia said afterward that Escobar is day to day. More >
Trout's laser: Upton homered to give the Tigers a one-run lead in the sixth, but Trout countered with a solo shot of his own in the following inning to tie the game at 3. The ball had an exit velocity of 107 mph and traveled a projected 431 feet -- his longest home run of the season, according to Statcast™.
Trout, who played his third game since returning from a left hamstring issue, reached base four times Saturday, finishing 2-for-2 with a walk and a hit-by-pitch.
"You can't always expect Mike to be as locked in as he was the first month of the season, but he's going to be there," Scioscia said. "He's going to get his at-bats, he's going to beat every pitch, and when he gets a ball to hit, he's got the chance of doing what he did the last couple nights and hit one out."
"That was huge. He's just a huge bat. He can get in there and give us another guy for them to fear." -- Norris on J.D. Martinez
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS Danny Espinosa snapped his 0-for-36 drought by ripping a two-out double down the third-base line in the sixth. It was the longest hitless streak in Angels history, according to the club's radio broadcast.
UPON FURTHER REVIEW
In the first inning, Ian Kinsler drew a leadoff walk against Nolasco and then attempted to steal second with no outs. Kinsler was called safe by second-base umpire Mike Winters, but the Angels challenged the ruling after replay appeared to show that Kinsler briefly came off the bag while Espinosa applied a tag on him. The call was overturned following a review, wiping Kinsler from the basepaths.
WHAT'S NEXT Tigers: Ace Justin Verlander gets the ball in the series finale Sunday against the Angels on Mother's Day. It's the final contest of Detroit's nine-game road trip. Verlander has worked at least six innings in each of his last three starts. First pitch is scheduled for 3:37 p.m. ET.
Angels: Right-hander Alex Meyer (1-1, 7.62 ERA) will take the mound on Mother's Day as the Angels close out their four-game series with the Tigers at 12:37 p.m. PT at Angel Stadium. Meyer earned his first win of the season Tuesday after holding the A's to three runs in 5 1/3 innings.