DETROIT -- Maybe Friday was karma smiling on the Tigers for all the hard-luck outs on their West Coast trip. Maybe it was Niko Goodrum providing another reminder for the team that let him go at the end of last season. Maybe it was just the Tigers playing well back
DETROIT -- Maybe Friday was karma smiling on the Tigers for all the hard-luck outs on their West Coast trip. Maybe it was Niko Goodrum providing another reminder for the team that let him go at the end of last season. Maybe it was just the Tigers playing well back home at Comerica Park, where they still own a winning record.
Whatever it is, after eight runs on their just-finished six-game road trip, they'll take the 5-3 win over the Twins, who outhit the Tigers by a wide margin but didn't get the ball over the fence.
It's the first time the Tigers have scored five runs or more with three hits or less in nearly a decade, and the first time that they won a game that way since Brandon Inge and Marcus Thames homered to beat the Blue Jays in Toronto on June 10, 2006. And to the Tigers, considering their West Coast nightmare, it was about time.
"To hit the ball hard and get rewarded for it is always good," said Goodrum, who hit one of a pair of two-run homers to power Detroit's offense Friday and haunt his former team once more.
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Though the Twins more than tripled the Tigers' hit total, 10-3, the combination of Ervin Santana walks and home runs made the hits count, sending Santana to his first loss at Comerica Park since 2012. He had been unbeaten in six visits since then.
The last time Santana lost in Detroit, Goodrum was in Rookie ball in the Twins' farm system. Minnesota used a second-round pick on him out of high school in 2010, then progressed him up the developmental ladder, ultimately leading to his Major League debut at Target Field last September. After 11 Major League games and 18 plate appearances, the Twins let him go, dropping him from their 40-man roster at season's end and making him a Minor League free agent.
He has had his ups and downs in Detroit since making the Opening Day roster, but he has carved out an everyday role.
"I have nothing towards the Twins," Goodrum insisted. "They drafted me, gave me my opportunity to play in the big leagues, so I'm thankful for that. So now it's just another opponent in the dugout. There's nothing more than that, just me going out there and playing another game."
Goodrum was just looking to clear his head after the road trip; he entered the night hitting 8-for-57 (.140) over his last 15 games. He went swinging at a 3-0 pitch and drove a ball to the foot of the center-field wall in the second inning, where Jake Cave ran it down and crashed into the padding to convert a 419-foot out.
By contrast, Goodrum's fourth-inning loft traveled just a projected 375 feet, per Statcast™, but toward the right-field seats for a two-out drive that broke a 1-1 tie with his 11th homer of the season.
"He's not missing mistakes," Twins manager Paul Molitor said. "We've attacked him at times pretty well. I don't know if he's extra motivated or what against us, but he's had a lot of big hits in the games that we've played him thus far."
Goodrum just credited a simplified approach after early hitting work with coaches Friday.
"I had to make some adjustments," Goodrum said. "I just got away from certain stuff, and now I'm working my way back to feeling good."
Jose Iglesias' fifth-inning drive down the left-field line for his fifth homer of the year provided some breathing room for Jordan Zimmermann and the Tigers' bullpen.
Zimmermann (5-4), who had lost his previous four starts, held the Twins to a pair of unearned runs over 6 1/3 innings. Though Minnesota took advantage of a pair of Detroit defensive miscues, the Twins never found the big hit off Zimmermann to close in, a product of Zimmermann's four-pitch repertoire -- complete with an improvised changeup.
"I was working on a changeup in between last start and this one," Zimmermann said. "I probably threw 10 of those. It was 87-88 [mph], but it had a lot better action."
It was a surprise for the Twins, who had plated 29 runs over 29 2/3 innings against Zimmermann over his three-year Tiger tenure.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Nick of time:Nicholas Castellanos has shown a penchant for leaping at the right-field wall to try to corral fly balls, but it finally paid off Friday with a highlight catch. Castellanos went flying into the right-field corner to deny Max Kepler of what would have been at least a double, instead ending the eighth inning without a threat.
"We had some good defensive plays and some not-so-good defensive plays," said manager Ron Gardenhire, who had his team on the field for early work Friday afternoon.
Friday marked just the second game since 1917 that the Tigers had at least three hits in a game without a single or double. The other was on May 22, 1971, when they also had two homers and a triple in a 3-1 win over the Washington Senators.
The Tigers' annual Fiesta Tigres celebration takes place Saturday as the series continues with a 6:10 p.m. ET start at Comerica Park. Francisco Liriano (3-6, 4.37 ERA) will take the mound against his old team opposite Minnesota righty Kyle Gibson (5-9, 3.60).
Jason Beck has covered the Tigers for MLB.com since 2002. Read Beck's Blog, follow him on Twitter @beckjason and Facebook.