DETROIT -- A funny thing happened when one of baseball's hottest pitchers went up against probably the most beat-up and improvised lineup to be found anywhere.
That battered Rangers lineup, with the bottom half hitting for the cycle, had Tigers starter Rick Porcello out of the game by the sixth inning, and their own starting pitcher on his way to his first Major League win with a 12-2 victory on Saturday afternoon at Comerica Park.
Porcello had won six straight starts for the Tigers but couldn't keep it going against the likes of Chris Gimenez, Donnie Murphy, Rougned Odor and rookie starter Nick Martinez. The Rangers, with their fourth win in six games, are one victory away from taking three of four from the Tigers on the road.
Martinez, in his fourth Major League start and ninth appearance, held the Tigers to one run on eight hits in six innings. He walked one despite flirting with several three-ball counts in critical situations. He struck out two.
"We had a lot of fun out there today," Martinez said. "Everybody played great. Our offense really attacked their starting pitcher, we played great defense, it was just a great all-around game. I had a plan and I knew I had to execute it. I knew I had to make pitches and I was able to do that."
The Rangers had 19 hits on the afternoon and much of the damage was done by the lower half of the order. Gimenez, Leonys Martin, Murphy and Odor were a combined 9-for-17 with a double, two triples, home run, three walks, eight runs scored and nine RBIs.
"With all the stuff that's happened, it just shows this team is still together and still fighting no matter who is in the lineup," Murphy said. "It was nice to see the bottom of the order come around. I'm glad we were productive. It was a fun day for everybody."
Odor had an especially memorable afternoon, going 4-for-5 with two triples and five RBIs. He is the 10th Rangers player to hit two triples in one game and only the second rookie. David Hulse had two triples as a rookie in a 1993 game. Odor is the first Major League rookie to have at least two triples and five RBIs in a game since Hal Breeden for the Expos in 1973.
"It feels good, it gives me a little confidence," Odor said. "I just want to be a part of the team and have the other guys feel they can have confidence in me."
The bottom of the order really got the Rangers going after the Tigers took a 1-0 lead in the second on a two-out single by Andrew Romine and a double by Rajai Davis. Martinez was able to escape further damage by picking off Davis at second.
The Tigers still led into the fourth when Adrian Beltre singled with one out. After Alex Rios flied out, Gimenez doubled to right to tie the game and he scored on a single by Martin. Murphy kept it going with a walk and Odor smashed his first triple into the right-fielder corner to give the Rangers a 4-1 lead.
"The kid swung the bat extremely well today," Rangers manager Ron Washington said. "He didn't miss his pitch and he played great defense. I just want him to build on today. He has always been a confident kid and he's not scared. Today he showed what he is capable of doing."
Beltre added his fifth home run of the season in the fifth, Murphy had a two-run home run in a three-run sixth and Odor added a three-run triple in the seventh. The eight runs given up by Porcello were a season high.
"After the third, he was just a little up," catcher Alex Avila said. "I mean, the pitches we got hurt on were pitches up in the zone, really. He threw some good curves, threw some good sinkers. Just the ones that we got hurt on, they scored the runs on, the Odor triple, the home run by Beltre, those were balls that were up in the zone."
Martinez had a couple of tense moments before the Rangers were able to break it open. With the score 5-1 in the bottom of the fifth, Martinez gave up a one-out single to Romine and a two-out hit to Ian Kinsler. Martinez then fell behind 3-0 to Torii Hunter with Miguel Cabrera on deck. But Martinez threw a strike and then got Hunter to ground into an inning-ending double play.
"We performed very well and it all started with Nick," Washington said. "He did a very good job against that lineup. He mixed well and did and kept them off-balance. He did an outstanding job."
In the sixth, the Tigers loaded the bases with one out on three straight singles by Victor Martinez, Austin Jackson and Avila. Nick Castellanos then hit a line drive that Odor caught and then flipped to first trying to get Avila doubled up to end the inning. Avila was originally ruled safe by umpire Jeff Gosney, but the Rangers appealed and the call was overturned after a review. That was the last hitter Martinez faced as Shawn Tolleson, Neal Cotts and Aaron Poreda finished up.
"Martinez is absolutely fearless, which against a team like that can be good or bad," Gimenez said. "But today he challenged them and made pitches when he needed to. He wasn't afraid of them."
T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com Read his blog, Postcards from Elysian Fields and follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.