Ordonez homers twice in big inning
Right fielder hits Nos. 20, 21 during Tigers' eight-run second
DETROIT -- The Tigers have a sense of history whenever they come to work. A series of pictures from different eras wraps around the walls of the home clubhouse at Comerica Park.
"I know that when I retire, they're going to have one of my pictures somewhere around here," Magglio Ordonez joked on Sunday after his two-homer second inning. "They'd better put be somewhere."
The way Ordonez hits A's pitching here, he's building his own highlight reel.
Last October, his walk-off home run off Huston Street sent the Tigers into the World Series. On Saturday night, his two-run homer pulled Detroit ahead for good and helped end a three-game losing streak. On Sunday afternoon, he became just the second player in Tigers history to hit two home runs in the same inning.
Considering the other guy to do it was Al Kaline, it's pretty good company to keep.
Kaline, the last Tigers player inducted into the Hall of Fame, homered twice in Detroit against the Kansas City A's on April 17, 1955. Then a fresh-faced 20-year-old, Kaline went on to win the American League batting title that year, making him the youngest batting champ in history. If Ordonez holds on to the AL's leading average this season, these last two days will probably go down as the highlight.
"I've never seen someone like him," third baseman Brandon Inge said. "Healthy now, the way he's swinging the bat, it's truly unbelievable. He's best offensive player that I ever played with."
Or as A's manager Bob Geren understated, "He looks like he's seeing the ball real well."
Ordonez's game-changing home run Saturday paced a three-hit night that included an infield single and a well-placed line drive. Both of Sunday's home runs came as a surprise -- the first because he was just looking for a hit, the second because he wasn't expected to get back up again.
A's starter Dallas Braden retired the side in order in the first inning before coming back out to face Ordonez leading off the second. After falling behind with a 2-1 count, he went inside on Ordonez with a pitch that dropped in just above his knees.
"The first one, I just tried to get a base hit to the opposite field," Ordonez said. "I hit it good. I never thought it was going to be a home run, but I put a very good swing on the ball."
The ball traveled down the right-field line before just clearing the fence in the corner.
"It's where I wanted it," Braden said of the pitch. "I wasn't even sure if it was going to be a strike."
Five more Tigers hits and four Detroit runs followed, bringing Ordonez back up to bat with two outs in the inning, two runners on and Braden still in the game with a 5-2 score. That didn't last long.
After a first-pitch strike and a ball, Braden again went inside against Ordonez. This one wasn't nearly as well spotted.
"Fastball, up and in," Braden said. "Not even in, just up. Poor pitch selection on my part."
Once Ordonez turned on the ball, there was no doubt where it was headed. He watched as it soared into the left-field seats behind the visitors' bullpen.
"Second one, I hit it good," he said.
That knocked Braden out of the game while extending the Tigers' lead to 8-2. It also pushed Ordonez's RBI total over the 100 mark, making him the first Tigers player to do it in back-to-back seasons since Dean Palmer in 1999-2000.
Ordonez has seen a four-homer game before, having watched Mike Cameron do it in 2002. But he had never seen a two-homer inning. He became the second Major Leaguer this season to do it, joining Giants catcher Bengie Molina from May 7 against the Mets. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, no player had hit two in the same inning off the same pitcher since then-Expo Juan Rivera went deep off White Sox pitcher Arnie Munoz on June 19, 2004.
Molina is having a nice year for the Giants, while Rivera ended up hitting .307 in part-time duty for Montreal in '04. Ordonez's effort stretched his batting lead to 10 points over Mariners center fielder Ichiro Suzuki. He became just the second Major Leaguer this season to top 100 RBIs, behind only Alex Rodriguez.
"He's having one of those years," Tigers manager Jim Leyland said. "When you can hit it out both ways, that's pretty amazing. He hit one to right and one to left."
Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.