DETROIT -- Before Victor Martinez headed home to be with his wife for the birth of their fourth child, he showed a flash of what the Tigers will be missing in his absence. In the fifth inning Thursday, Martinez sent a first-pitch fastball from Dylan Bundy over the wall in right-center field for a two-run home run.
Martinez, who will go on the paternity list and be replaced by Triple-A Toledo righty Buck Farmer, hit the ball 420 feet with an exit velocity of 103.7 mph, according to Statcast™. J.D. Martinez, who had walked for the second of three times in the game, scored as well, to pull the Tigers ahead for good in their 6-5 win over Baltimore. J.D. Martinez put the Tigers on the board in the third with his own three-run shot.
Detroit begins a three-game home series against the Rangers on Friday, while Martinez leaves to be with his family. His wife is scheduled to give birth Friday, and barring complications, he will rejoin the team on Monday in time for its series opener in Houston.
"There's a small chance that I'll need Monday, too," Martinez said. "This is gonna be the first C-section for my wife. We'll see how it goes. We're hoping to be back home Sunday."
Martinez's departure is untimely for the Tigers, who will likely be without first baseman Miguel Cabrera through at least Saturday. Cabrera suffered a Grade 1 strain of his left oblique during batting practice before Wednesday's win over the Orioles. Manager Brad Ausmus said he doesn't expect Cabrera to be moved to the disabled list, but the team only has until Saturday to backdate that move if it's needed.
If Cabrera and Martinez are both out, the Tigers will have some lineup shuffling to do. Alex Avila started at first base on Wednesday before getting behind the plate for Thursday's series finale. Andrew Romine started at first base Thursday. Jim Adduci is capable of playing first base, but he's on the 10-day DL with a right oblique strain.
In the meantime, Martinez gave one last splash of power before skipping town for a few days. He now has three home runs on the season (two in the past three games) and has at least one hit in 12 of 14 games this month.
Martinez didn't suggest that the home run was particularly meaningful just because it was right before his paternity leave, but he was happy with the result nonetheless.
"It feels great," he said. "It's not just before I go back home. It's a good feeling when you do something and help out your team to win a ball game."
As for the baby's name, Martinez said the public will have to wait.
Jason Beck has covered the Tigers for MLB.com since 2002. Read Beck's Blog, follow him on Twitter @beckjason and Facebook.
Jordan Horrobin is a reporter for MLB.com based in Detroit. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.