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Must C Clips: Martinez avoids the tag at home

DETROIT -- Most Tigers players probably wouldn't have argued Victor Martinez's footwork. He has an iPad with a speaker in the clubhouse at Comerica Park, and he can get a laugh out of his teammates with a few moves.

But nobody expected that out on the field. The Tigers might have expected to dance their way out of another early deficit, scoring seven unanswered runs in an 8-3 win over the A's that included four runs on 822 feet of homers. That first run, however, caught them by surprise, and it still had them talking after the game.

"Well, that was a very acrobatic slide, I guess, to say the least," manager Jim Leyland said.

It had Miguel Cabrera smiling. His 422-foot launch to left field for his 20th home run of the season, by comparison, was humdrum for him.

"He's got a little move," Cabrera said of Martinez. "He's got a salsa move -- salsa, with meringue, with reggaeton, together."

A's catcher Kurt Suzuki wasn't quite smiling about it, but he respected it.

"He stopped and did a little dance and avoided me and that was that," Suzuki said. "He did a good job of avoiding the play."

Martinez was a little quieter about it. He might have been just as excited about Michael Cuddyer's slide home with the winning run for the Twins minutes later, sending the Indians to defeat and moving the Tigers back into a tie atop the American League Central for the second time in three days. Still, he enjoyed it.

"Sometimes," Martinez said, "we need a little thing like that to get a team going."

It wasn't only one run in the Tigers' mid-inning onslaught against former Detroit prospect Guillermo Moscoso, but it was the first run. He was on first base with two outs in the fourth inning when A's first baseman Conor Jackson was caught flat-footed on Carlos Guillen's grounder. Martinez took off as the ball rolled into foul territory, and third-base coach Gene Lamont waved him around to test right fielder David DeJesus.

The throw beat Martinez easily, so easily that he had a split second to think as Suzuki tried to lunge across the plate for the tag.

"I think that's one of those things where you don't practice that, obviously," Martinez said. "I was dead out and just trying to make something happen."

The prevailing thought for him was to step around home plate.

"He's got some great feet," Cabrera said. "He can play soccer."

He had enough of a move that he still hadn't been tagged as he was standing on the other side of the plate.

"I think when I went past home plate, he was still with his glove laid on the plate," Martinez said, "and I was like, 'Wait a minute, I think I've got a chance to [sneak] my hand here.'"

With a one-handed lunge at the plate that left Suzuki waving for a tag, he did. Suzuki didn't have an argument.

"I went to tag him and he stuck his arm under," Suzuki said, "and I was kind of put in a messed-up situation and he slid and touched the plate before I touched him."

Said Tigers starter Rick Porcello: "That was pretty good. It seems like he'd be a pretty good dancer, bouncing around."

Porcello had a less artistic escape of his own in the top of the inning, getting out of a bases-loaded, no-out jam scoreless with a force out at the plate and an inning-ending double play. He couldn't do the same in the fifth, with doubles from Suzuki and Coco Crisp fueling a three-run A's rally. But Cabrera and Carlos Guillen quickly put him back in front -- no footwork, just strength.

Their homers came after Moscoso was a strike away from getting out of the fifth inning with the lead intact, having gotten Cabrera to swing and miss at one fastball and foul off another over the middle of the plate. After Cabrera fouled off two more to stay alive in the count, he didn't miss another mistake pitch.

"In that at-bat, he threw me a good pitch to hit, I think 1-1, but I just missed it," Cabrera said. "I was kind of upset, but I said to myself, 'Focus on this at-bat. Try to make something happen and try to see a ball and do a better job.'"

Cabrera's 600th career extra-base hit pulled Detroit ahead. After Jhonny Peralta's RBI single, Guillen's 400-foot drive over the right-field fence put Detroit comfortably in front. It was Guillen's second home run since last Aug. 14, two days before the knee injury that led to microfracture surgery and an 11-month absence.

"He's giving us a little punch, obviously, and that's nice to see," Leyland said.

Porcello (9-6) took it from there, using another double play to close out with a quality start and his third victory in as many outings. It wasn't always pretty, but it was effective.

"I think we're just using a better mix of off-speed stuff," Porcello said. "I think that's keeping guys off balance."

Martinez's slide, on the other hand, was more off-balance. Comments