LOS ANGELES -- In perhaps the strangest game of the year to date, the later innings featured a familiar refrain. Victor Martinez homered off Kenley Jansen in the 10th inning to give the Tigers a 7-6 win over the Dodgers on Wednesday at Dodger Stadium.
It was a game that saw Brandon League bat, Martinez catch and Josh Beckett pitch, the latter at least for a while. The game saw six stolen bases, four errors, two wild pitches, one hit by pitch, a first career at-bat, a first career home run, a first career hit, and a first successful suicide squeeze bunt. The game featured 382 pitches and took four hours and 16 minutes to complete.
"It was a little different," manager Don Mattingly said.
It was Martinez who drove in the game-tying run in the ninth inning against Jansen on Tuesday night. But on Wednesday, it was the Dodgers who came back in the ninth inning.
Adrian Gonzalez led off the ninth inning with a home run off Detroit closer Joe Nathan to cut the deficit to 6-4, then walks to Andre Ethier and Matt Kemp loaded the bases with nobody out.
Pinch hitter Yasiel Puig, playing in his first game since Saturday, struck out looking, but Scott Van Slyke grounded out for one run, and Dee Gordon tied the game with a single to right field, his third hit of the night.
Gordon dropped a throw from catcher Tim Federowicz that would have nabbed Ian Kinsler stealing second base in the first inning. Kinsler then caught Beckett napping by swiping third standing up without a throw. Kinsler scored the game's first run on a sacrifice fly to left fielder Carl Crawford in left, whose airmailed throw home allowed Miguel Cabrera to advance to second base.
"People talk about Puig missing the cutoff man someone should send Crawford a note" Vin Scully— Vin Scully (@VinScullyTweet) April 10, 2014
The Tigers were unable to cash in that mistake, but they did not miss their opportunity in the second. Beckett induced a grounder from Alex Gonzalez that would have ended a 10-pitch clean inning, but it was booted by Gordon. Anibal Sanchez, a career .089/.147/.097 (21-for-236) hitter entering Wednesday, followed with a double over Matt Kemp's head in center field to score Gonzalez for the Tigers' second run of the game.
The Dodgers had some early fun as well. Gordon was thrown out trying to steal on a pitch out in the first inning, but the Dodgers otherwise took advantage of Martinez, catching just his fourth game since the end of the 2011 season. A double by Carl Crawford, a wild pitch and a walk to Hanley Ramirez setup the Dodgers' first run, a double steal that included a Martinez throw into center field.
Ramirez then scored on a single by Andre Ethier that got by Gonzalez at shortstop thanks to some weird spin on the ball. It was a fitting final hit of the entire bizarre first inning, which lasted a whopping 37 minutes.
The Dodgers added another run in the second inning when Juan Uribe singled, advanced to second base on a passed ball then took third on a groundout. Beckett, in his first plate appearance of the season, followed with the first suicide squeeze of his career for a 3-2 lead.
That lead did not last.
After nearly getting a 1-2-3 inning in the second, Beckett almost did the same in the third. But after getting Ian Kinsler and Miguel Cabrera out to open the frame he allowed a single to Martinez, a double to Austin Jackson, and a drive off the top of and over the center field wall by Nick Castellanos for his first major league home run.
Beckett was done after four innings and 85 pitches, with five runs allowed (four of them earned runs). The right-hander struck out five and walked one, and lost his sixth straight decision, dating back to last year.
"Hopefully it's just rust, and I can make some adjustments pitch to pitch, and not having to take two to three pitches," Beckett said.
Sanchez threw 63 pitches in his first two innings and looked on the ropes, but he settled down to retire nine straight and 10 of his final 11 batters to last through five innings.
"Once he got that lead, he buckled down, and did a nice job," Mattingly said.
After all the early carnage, the Dodgers didn't do much on offense until the ninth inning, with 18 of 20 batters retired at one point.
Brandon League walked in his first career plate appearance in 2013, and picked up his second career PA in Wednesday's game. His fifth-inning groundout against Sanchez was technically League's first career at-bat, and lowered his career on-base percentage to .500.
Tyler Collins, who started in right field for the banged-up Torii Hunter, singled in the eighth inning for his first career hit.
The Dodgers are off Thursday, but begin a six-game road trip with a weekend series in Arizona. Hyun-Jin Ryu starts the opener for the Dodgers on Friday in Phoenix, facing Brandon McCarthy for the Diamondbacks.
Home run: Adrian Gonzalez (2), Nick Castellanos (1), Victor Martinez (2)
WP - Joe Nathan (2-0): 1 IP, 3 hits, 3 runs, 2 walks, 1 strikeout
LP - Kenley Jansen (0-1): ⅔ IP, 3 hits, 1 run, 1 strikeout
Sv - Al Alburquerque (1): 1 up, 1 down