Thoughts on Game 5 of 162

Power surge: Alex Avila (right) hit a two-run homer and had five RBIs to lead the Tigers to a 7-3 win over the Orioles on Wednesday night. (AP)

Key players: Alex Avila and Justin Verlander

It was nice to see Alex Avila’s bat come to life. The Tigers catcher had quite the game and was a huge reason behind Detroit winning for the second time in its last three games. Avila had a key two-out, two-RBI double in the second inning that got the Tigers on the board, added a two-run home run that he crushed to right field in the fourth inning and then had a key RBI hit in the eighth that provided the Tigers with a key insurance run. Four of Avila’s five RBIs came with two outs. The catcher also stole a base

Verlander had another quality start (when a pitcher lasts  at least six innings and gives up three or fewer earned runs) for the Tigers, giving up just three runs in eight innings while striking out nine. He is the only Detroit starter to have logged a quality start this season.

Key sequence: Avila concluded a lengthy at-bat in the second inning with a key two-out double in the second inning was the key to the contest. Brennan Boesch and Jhonny Peralta had each reached safely with two outs because of errors and the Tigers had to take advantage of the opportunity. They cashed in with Avila’s clutch hit.

Heating up: Victor Martinez had his best game of the season, going 3 for 5 with a solo home run and two runs scored. Heading into Wednesday’s game, the DH/catcher was hitting .176 with one homer through the Tigers’ first four contests. He followed Miguel Cabrera’s solo homer run (his third long ball of the season) with a solo homer of his own. It provided one of our first glimpses this season of how dangerous the middle of the Tigers lineup can be..

Grounded birds: Wednesday marked the first contest this season where the Orioles had allowed more than one run. Baltimore (4-1) had only given up four runs in its four games and the Tigers (2-3) nearly doubled that total in Wednesday’s game. Orioles starter Brad Bergeson only lasted 3 2/2 innings, giving up five hits and four runs (two earned).

Up next: at Baltimore, 7 p.m. Thursday

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