CLEVELAND (AP) — Pitching to J.D. Martinez didn’t work out very well for the Cleveland Indians on Friday night.
Facing Victor Martinez wasn’t a very good idea either.
J.D. Martinez hit a three-run homer, Victor Martinez added a two-run shot and the Detroit Tigers held on for a 6-4 victory.
Rick Porcello (9-4) pitched six scoreless innings for the Tigers and Joe Nathan worked the ninth for his 15th save.
But it was a big Martinez night for Detroit.
Victor Martinez homered off Corey Kluber (6-5) in the fourth inning. J.D. Martinez’s home run, following an intentional walk to Victor Martinez, came in the eighth off John Axford.
J.D. Martinez was 3 for 4, extending his hitting streak to 10 games during which he’s batting .447 (17 for 38) with four homers and raised his average to .317.
“You see occasionally players get on a hot streak like this and I hope he’s hot tomorrow,” Detroit manager Brad Ausmus said.
Victor Martinez, providing a big threat behind Miguel Cabrera, has 18 home runs and 47 RBIs with a .328 average.
“When the season started I said the only guy who can protect Miguel is Miguel, but I’m going to say now the other person who can protect Miguel would be Victor,” Ausmus said. “So there’s at least two.”
Indians manager Terry Francona agreed.
“He’s the perfect guy behind Miggy,” Francona said. “Miggy’s Miggy. He has that reputation and it’s well deserved, but Victor can hit all pitching. He can hit for power. He puts the bat on the ball when need be from both sides of the plate.”
Victor Martinez, who played for the Indians from 2002-09, is hitting .366 (70 for 191) with eight homers and 44 RBIs in 52 career games against his former team. Detroit’s designated hitter also continued his mastery over Kluber. He’s batting .471 (8 for 17) with two homers lifetime against the right-hander.
“I don’t think he’s biased,” Francona said. “He’s good against everybody.”
Victor Martinez belted Kluber’s first pitch deep into the seats in right field. The Indians walked him intentionally in the eighth, but J.D. Martinez ruined that strategy with his seventh home run.
The Tigers took a 5-0 lead into the bottom of the eighth, but Asdrubal Cabrera hit a three-run homer and Carlos Santana had a solo shot off Ian Krol. Joba Chamberlain retired the final hitter of the inning and then Nathan struck out Michael Bourn with a runner on to end the game.
“My stress level got a little bit up in the eighth,” Ausmus said.
The Tigers returned to Progressive Field for the first time since they were swept in a three-game series last month. Detroit was 27-12 and held a seven-game lead in the AL Central, but suffered two walk-off losses, including a balk that scored the winning run in the 13th inning in the series finale.
The sweep began a 10-20 tailspin which dropped the Tigers out of first place for the first time his season.
Porcello, who is 9-3 lifetime against Cleveland, won for the first time since May 29 and for the second time in his last six starts. He was 7-1 with a 2.91 ERA in his first eight starts, but went 1-3 with a 6.00 ERA in the next five.
Porcello allowed six hits, struck out three and walked one.
“I had a good fastball,” Porcello said. “My changeup was a big pitch. The way the guys played defense was fantastic too.”
Indians left fielder Michael Brantley singled as a pinch-hitter with two outs in the ninth, his first appearance since sustaining a concussion Monday.
Porcello is 4-0 with a 1.47 ERA in five starts against Cleveland since 2013.
Kluber hasn’t won since May 30 after recording victories in four straight decisions. He gave up eight hits, struck out six and walked one.
Ian Kinsler had an RBI double in the ninth.
Tigers right fielder Torii Hunter missed his fourth straight game with a strained right hamstring.
The crowd of 33,545 was the second-largest at Progressive Field this season, topped only by the home opener.
NOTES: The Indians will induct Omar Vizquel into their Hall of Fame before Saturday night’s game. He played for Cleveland from 1994-2004, won 11 Gold Gloves as a shortstop and finished his career with 2,877 hits. “I’m very honored,” said Vizquel, the first base and infield coach for the Tigers. “Playing here was the highlight of my career."... Tigers C Alex Avila strongly disputed an Internet report that he is tipping pitches by tapping his glove. “I’ve heard some crazy things, but that takes the cake,” he said. “I think people are just searching for something."... The Indians recalled RHP Vinnie Pestano from Triple-A Columbus and optioned RHP Zach McAllister there. ... Tigers RHP Justin Verlander (6-7) takes on RHP Trevor Bauer (2-3) on Saturday. Verlander is 2-5 with a 7.83 ERA in his last seven starts.