By Jason Beck and Kyle Beery
MLB.com |@beckjason |
DETROIT -- Andrew Romine's first career grand slam led the Tigers back from an early deficit and pulled Michael Fulmer out of early troubles, sending Detroit to its fifth win in six games with a 5-3 victory over the Twins on Wednesday at Comerica Park.
The Tigers' 6-2 record marks the third straight season they've won at least six of their first eight games. The win also moved Detroit out of a first-place tie with Minnesota atop the American League Central.
Brian Dozier led off the game with his first home run of the season. In the third inning, Joe Mauer's two-run single seemingly put the Twins in command with a 3-0 lead and Fulmer at 74 pitches. But Nicholas Castellanos' leadoff double brought the Tigers roaring back in the fourth before Romine sent a 1-2 slider from Kyle Gibson deep to right.
"I could feel it when I hit it," Romine said. "I hit it on the barrel, so really at that point, when I made contact, it was just a matter of whether it was going to stay fair. Once I realized that, there was a lot of adrenaline going on."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED Mauer makes trouble for Tigers: Mauer's 100th career RBI against the Tigers capped an inning in which Twins batters forced Fulmer to labor. Fulmer had a 1-2 count with a runner on first base and two outs before a Max Kepler hit-by-pitch and Miguel Sano walk extended the inning. Mauer battled out of an 0-2 hole to run the count full, then sent a seeing-eye bouncer through the middle. The ball had a 14 percent hit probability, according to Statcast™.
Romine rakes: Romine had six career home runs, five of them solo shots, when he stepped to the plate in the fourth. His bat flip upon connecting with Gibson's 1-2 offering showed his confidence that it was headed out. The long inning, in which Gibson threw 32 pitches, not only put Detroit ahead -- it gave Fulmer, who retired the final 10 batters he faced, a much-needed breather. More >
"He was pitching his butt off," Romine said of Fulmer. "I mean, that was the least we could do, get him a couple of runs."
"I don't remember the bat flip. I heard about it. I did not mean to flip it. I still haven't seen it." -- Romine, on flipping the bat after his first career grand slam.
"He's a pretty good offspeed hitter with two strikes. We saw him get another hit with two strikes off Duffey on an offspeed pitch. It's probably one of those ones you want to see him bury it and see if you can get him to expand a little bit." -- Twins manager Paul Molitor, on Romine's grand slam.
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
Romine's grand slam extended the Tigers' home run streak to eight games, their longest to open a season in franchise history. Detroit is the first team to homer in its first eight games since the 2012 Indians did so in their first nine contests. None of Detroit's home runs so far, though, have come from Miguel Cabrera, Victor Martinez or Justin Upton.
A crew chief review looked at Miguel Sano's third-inning drive down the right-field line to see if it might have glanced off the foul pole before landing foul. After a review, the crew couldn't determine definitively, so the foul call stood. Sano eventually walked.
WHAT'S NEXT Twins:Phil Hughes (1-0, 1.50) takes the mound Thursday in the finale of the three-game series. Hughes is making his second regular-season start since his 2016 campaign ended early due to a rib removal surgery to relieve thoracic outlet syndrome. Hughes said he feels he has recovered to full health and Molitor is encouraged by his progress.
Tigers:Jordan Zimmermann takes the mound in the series finale looking to build off of his six innings of one-run ball last Saturday against the Red Sox. He didn't miss many bats but kept Boston's lineup off-balance.