They keep falling, but they keep getting back up, too.
Detroit’s banged-up Tigers clawed their way back into the American League Championship Series with a 5-2 victory over the Texas Rangers on Tuesday to cut their deficit in the best-of-seven series to 2-1.
In the process, though, they suffered what could be another key injury. Victor Martinez, according to manager Jim Leyland, strained the intercostal muscle in his right side.
Martinez hurt himself hitting a game-tying home run leading off the fourth inning. He winced just a little completing his swing, which had a wobble at the end, then took a slow and stoic trip around the bases before touching home plate to tie the score, 1-1.
His teammates noted his extra slow stroll around the bases because he was greeted somberly when he hit the dugout steps. Martinez slapped a couple of upraised hands, then took off his helmet and slammed it to the floor as he descended the steps to lead head trainer Kevin Rand back for examination.
Martinez was seen returning later, grabbing a bat and heading for the batting cages under the stands. But he stayed in the game and took two more at-bats.
“He had that at-bat where he walked and he hit a ball good to left center, so I think he’s fine,” Leyland said. “I was very concerned (originally). It was an intercostal muscle. Obviously, I think he’ll be OK. He got through it. And if he can’t, you know what, we’ll play somebody else. That’s what you do this time of year. Find a way to win somehow.”
Detroit might have bamboozled Texas because the Rangers seemed unaware of the injury and the Tigers made no move to let them know.
Martinez was a little slow getting to the on-deck circle in the fifth but was there by the time Miguel Cabrera reached for an outside 0-2 pitch and lined an RBI double into the right-field corner. Maybe Texas would have pitched a little more carefully — though runners were only on first and second with two out — had it known a wounded Martinez was going to hit.
Martinez never took a full swing in his whole at-bat in that inning and walked on a 3-1 pitch. However, the next time up he swung at the first pitch and lined sharply to center.
“We’re tough,” Leyland said. “I think you gotta mention Adrian Beltre for them (Beltre fouled a pitch off his left knee but stayed in the game). These are two tough teams. I mean, he got smoked on the knee. Our guys are playing with pain and some injuries.”
The Tigers already were without left fielder Delmon Young, scratched from the lineup after he reported to Comerica Park and said he was extremely sore from having played and gone 0-for-4 in the second game of the series. Young has a strained muscle in his left side.
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