V-Mart rediscovers his power stroke in Detroit

V-Mart rediscovers his power stroke in Detroit

DETROIT -- Tigers designated hitter Victor Martinez smiled Sunday when asked about his just-ended power slump.

"You know how many homers I would hit if I keep that pace," he asked rhetorically. "It would be over a hundred."

He was kidding. Compared to his previous seasons, though, a 40-homer season would've seemed like that.

Martinez entered July 4 with 21 home runs, four off his career high for a full season. He then went into a power outage that lasted nearly a month before his three-run homer Saturday night. It's not like he hit horribly in July, but his .298 (17-for-57) performance included just three extra-base hits.

Some of it might have been wear and tear. His week off with a side injury surely took a toll.

"I'm sure the time off affected him," manager Brad Ausmus said. "But hitters go through power streaks and slumps, so to speak. It's nice to have it back."

On Sunday, Martinez hit another three-run homer, this one pulled much the same as his Saturday night drive off another lefty. It provided the bulk of the offense in the Tiger's 4-0 shutout win, and gave him his fourth stretch of back-to-back games with home runs this season.

With four games coming up at hitter-friendly Yankee Stadium, three of them against right-handed starters, the switch-hitting Martinez will have a chance to extend his power streak by taking his shots at the short porch in right field. If he hits two home runs, he'll tie his career high set in Cleveland in 2007.

Martinez doesn't plan to approach it any differently, just as he didn't change his approach during his power outage.

"I've been in the game for a long time. You just need to stay focused, just keep working and keep swinging," he said. "Just concentrate on good at-bats and good things will happen. Today I was able to find the barrel and get something done to help the team."

Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. Read Beck's Blog and follow him on Twitter @beckjason. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.