By STEPHEN HAWKINS/AP Sports Writer
ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) – Victor Martinez and J.D. Martinez homered on consecutive pitches by different Texas pitchers and the Detroit Tigers stretched their winning streak to six games, 8-6 over the Rangers on Wednesday night.
The unrelated Martinez sluggers hit their homers in the fifth – Victor leading off against Joe Saunders (0-4) before J.D. went deep on the first pitch thrown by reliever Shawn Tolleson. They also had consecutive doubles when the AL Central-leading Tigers went ahead to stay with three runs in the first inning.
Texas lost its seventh consecutive game, the longest current losing streak in the majors.
Anibal Sanchez (5-2) struck out five and allowed four runs in 5 1-3 innings. The right-hander is 5-0 in his eight starts since coming off the disabled list May 18 after missing three weeks with a cut on his right middle finger.
Joe Nathan, the Texas closer the last two seasons before leaving in free agency, gave up a run in the ninth before clinching his 16th save in 21 chances.
Victor Martinez hit his 20th homer to make it 6-3 and chase Saunders, the lefty who gave up seven hits and walked five. J.D Martinez followed with his ninth homer of the season and sixth during a 14-game hitting streak that is the longest in the majors.
Carlos Pena homered and scored twice in his second game back with the Rangers, the team he made his major league debut for in 2001 before being traded the following winter.
Detroit’s first five hits were for extra bases before Torii Hunter’s RBI single in the third made it 5-0.
The Tigers led 3-0 only five batters into the game. Rajai Davis led off with a triple into the right-center gap, Ian Kinsler walked on four pitches and Miguel Cabrera had a sacrifice fly before the consecutive Martinez doubles.
Kinsler and Cabrera had consecutive doubles to start the third.
Texas scored three times in the fourth, which started when Shin-Soo Choo singled before Adrian Beltre’s RBI double. Pena singled and came home on a single by Robinson Chirinos.
When Pena homered in the sixth, the ball landed in a pan of brisket set up in a seating area in the right-field corner.
Texas rookie second baseman Rougned Odor struck out for the third time in the eighth, but made it to the third base after a wild pitch and a throwing error by catcher Bryan Holaday. Odor was initially called out sliding into third base by umpire Tim Welke even as the ball rolled free, but the umpiring crew conferred and changed the call to safe without a replay.