ST. PETERSBURG, Fla — Victor Martinez drew a tiebreaking bases-loaded walk during a three-run 11th inning and the Detroit Tigers beat the Tampa Bay Rays 8-6 on Tuesday night.
Ian Kinsler opened the 11th with a triple off Grant Balfour (1-5), a flare to right that got past a diving Kevin Kiermaier. Torii Hunter walked and Miguel Cabrera was intentionally walked before Martinez got his free pass.
Hunter scored on Jeff Beliveau’s wild pitch and Bryan Holaday added a sacrifice fly that gave Detroit an 8-5 lead.
Jim Johnson (5-2) worked out of a two-on, two-out jam in the 10th. Joe Nathan gave up Evan Longoria’s RBI single in the 11th before getting his 26th save.
The Tigers, the AL second wild-card leader, won for the fifth time in 13 games.
James Loney homered for the Rays, who had a club-record stretch of 13 consecutive games holding opponents to four runs or less end.
Detroit starter Max Scherzer came up short in his bid to become the AL’s first 15th winner when Joba Chamberlain gave up an eighth-inning sacrifice fly to Vince Belnome that tied it at 5.
Scherzer allowed four runs and four hits over seven innings. The right-hander held Tampa Bay scoreless on one hit over his final five innings.
J.D. Martinez hit a solo homer that put the Tigers up 5-4 in the eighth. Rajai Davis had a sixth-inning game-tying RBI single off Chris Archer, who gave up four runs and five hits in 5 2-3 innings.
The Tigers pulled within 4-3 in the fifth, thanks in part to a video review. After Kinsler walked with the bases loaded and Hunter hit a run-scoring grounder, Cabrera was given an RBI single after a challenge by Detroit manager Brad Ausmus. The call that center fielder Desmond Jennings had made a sliding catch on Cabrera’s two-out liner was overturned.
Loney’s homer put the Rays up 3-0 in the first.
Belnome doubled for his first big league hit and scored to make it 4-0 on Zobrist’s second-inning single.
Tigers: RHP Justin Verlander (sore right shoulder) could throw off a mound in a couple day and might start Saturday. OF Andy Dirks (back surgery) injured a hamstring at Triple-A Toledo and could miss the rest of the season.
Rays: OF Wil Myers (broken right wrist) is expected back this week. C Ryan Hanigan (oblique) and OF David DeJesus (broken left hand) are both nearing rehab assignments.
Tigers RHP Rick Porcello (13-7) and Rays RHP Jake Odorizzi (9-9) are Wednesday night’s scheduled starters.