Victor Martinez’s live bat saved the Tigers from a dead-arm disaster in a 7-6 victory on Wednesday night. Leading off the 10th inning with a home run off hard-throwing Kenley Jansen, Martinez made a winning pitcher out of Joe Nathan -- after Nathan blew a save by allowing three runs in the bottom of the ninth. Earlier in the day, Nathan acknowledged he was going through a bout of “dead arm,” but that he was neither hurting nor worried about the situation. Having dealt as a catcher with pitchers with dead arm, manager Brad Ausmus described the condition as one in which “there doesn’t feel like there’s any strength in there. It feels like you’re throwing with a wet noodle. “There’s no power behind it. No snap to your breaking ball.” That seemed to be the case for Nathan. From the home run he allowed to Adrian Gonzalez to start the bottom of the ninth to the two-out single by Dee Gordon that tied the game, the Tigers’ closer struggled. He gave up the three runs on three hits and pair of walks. But when one more hit would have won the game for the Dodgers, Nathan got a fly ball to left to end the inning with the score tied. Martinez quickly countered with his home run to right -- and with fine work from lefty Ian Krol in the 10th, plus a final-out save for Al Alburquerque on a grounder to third, the Tigers hung on. “I’m not concerned about him,” Ausmus said about Nathan before the game. “I didn’t know anything about the dead arm, and maybe I should be concerned about that, but as far as I know he’s fine. “Pitchers are going to go through dead arm a number of times. Relievers, though, can tread water with it.” That wasn’t the case for Nathan, who’s now 1-for-3 in save situations for the Tigers -- but with two victories out of those blown saves. Before that, it looked like the game was going to be decided by the first home run of Nick Castellanos’ major-league career -- a three-run shot in the third. An RBI double from Anibal Sanchez, the first of his career as well, also helped. Castellanos’ home run gave the Tigers a 5-3 lead to which they added a run in the seventh. It was that lead which was handed over to Nathan in the ninth.
V-Mart blast in 10th rescues Tigers from another bullpen meltdown
Detroit News | Apr 10