- Associated Press - Thursday, May 12, 2016

BALTIMORE (AP) - With the Detroit Tigers mired in a terrible skid, Victor Martinez can’t find any solace in a hot streak that’s lifted his batting average to a lofty .362.

Martinez had three hits and two RBIs, yet the Tigers blew a five-run lead Thursday night and lost to the Baltimore Orioles 7-5, their ninth defeat in 10 games.

“If anyone’s doubting that we’re going out there and giving our best, I’m going to invite them and have them put on a big league uniform and go out there every single day,” an obviously frustrated Martinez said. “Our energy, effort level is there. What else can we do? Just keep playing the game.”

Martinez is 10 for 13 in his last three games and is batting .469 since April 29. Yet the Tigers are 15-19 and stuck in fourth place in the AL Central.

Their latest loss was particularly galling because they led 5-0 in the sixth inning before giving it all away.

“We left some guys on base. We had a lead, couldn’t hold it,” manager Brad Ausmus said. “That’s the story of the game. There’s really not much else to it.”

Detroit starter Mike Pelfrey allowed two runs in 5 1/3 innings, but the collapse of the Detroit bullpen left the right-hander winless in 15 starts since Aug. 12.

The game turned in the seventh inning, when Baltimore used five singles and a triple by Jonathan Schoop to erase a 5-2 deficit.

Alex Wilson gave up three runs and Justin Wilson (0-1) yielded the last two.

After Adam Jones, Chris Davis and Pedro Alvarez hit RBI singles, Schoop cleared the bases with a liner into the right-field corner.

Vance Worley (2-0) worked two innings, and Zach Britton got three outs for his ninth save in nine chances.

Jarod Saltalamacchi homered for the Tigers. One night after striking out 20 times against Washington’s Max Scherzer, Detroit fanned only four times against Ubaldo Jimenez and three relievers.

Detroit’s Justin Upton played center field for the first time since he manned the position at Double A Mobile in 2007. Normally a corner outfielder, Upton was moved to center after the Tigers recalled Steven Moya from Triple-A Toledo and put him in left.

“It’s a smaller yard, which allows us to put Upton in center,” Ausmus said.

Upton played errorless ball. He broke in on a liner in the sixth inning but retreated in time to make the catch.

Jimenez allowed five hits and three walks over the first three innings, but Detroit’s lone run during that span scored on Martinez’s first-inning single.

Detroit made it 3-0 in the fourth. Saltalamacchia led off with his seventh homer, and Miguel Cabrera added a run-scoring groundout.

Detroit chased Jimenez during a two-run sixth that featured RBI singles by Cabrera and Martinez.

“Are you asking us to score 10 runs off Jimenez? We did what we did and they took him out,” Martinez said.


Tigers: OF Cameron Maybin (left wrist fracture) went 0 for 3 with a walk in his latest rehab game with Toledo on Thursday. In 14 games with the Mud Hens, Maybin is hitting .196. He has not played for Detroit this season.

Orioles: Shortstop J.J. Hardy, on the DL since May 2 with a fractured left foot, will receive treatment at the team’s minor league facility in Florida at the end of next week. “It doesn’t hurt and I haven’t put weight on it since the first day, so I don’t know how it’s doing,” Hardy said Thursday.


Tigers: Justin Verlander (2-3, 5.40 ERA) starts Friday night. He’s 7-0 at Camden Yards and has at least one strikeout in 288 straight games, the longest active streak in the majors.

Orioles: Chris Tillman (4-1, 3.05 ERA) is 3-0 with 25 strikeouts in his last three starts and is 3-0 with a 1.69 ERA over the past three years against Detroit.

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