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Tigers rally late, spoil White Sox home opener

MLB.com @beckjason

CHICAGO -- The Tigers' dugout could see the rally coming together in the ninth inning as Miguel Cabrera's spot in the lineup approached. What they couldn't see was somebody else doing a Miguel Cabrera impression while hitting in the same spot.

Niko Goodrum took over for Cabrera in the second inning after the Tigers' star bruised his left hip flexor tumbling around first base. As Goodrum's first Major League homer headed over the fence in right-center field -- driving in two of six unanswered Tigers runs in an eventual 9-7, 10-inning victory over the White Sox -- he dashed around the bases like he wasn't expecting it.

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CHICAGO -- The Tigers' dugout could see the rally coming together in the ninth inning as Miguel Cabrera's spot in the lineup approached. What they couldn't see was somebody else doing a Miguel Cabrera impression while hitting in the same spot.

Niko Goodrum took over for Cabrera in the second inning after the Tigers' star bruised his left hip flexor tumbling around first base. As Goodrum's first Major League homer headed over the fence in right-center field -- driving in two of six unanswered Tigers runs in an eventual 9-7, 10-inning victory over the White Sox -- he dashed around the bases like he wasn't expecting it.

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"When I hit it, I was thinking double in the wind," Goodrum said. "That's why I was just hauling. I was just going. I didn't look."

In the Tigers' clubhouse, meanwhile, Cabrera was watching it all unfold, nervous with excitement.

"It was beautiful," Cabrera said. "I like the attitude here. I liked that everybody stayed positive. We can win games if we go out there and play nine innings hard."

Tweet from @tigers: Comeback complete. pic.twitter.com/GNnzF8SHWo

Goodrum's two-run, two-out homer off former Tiger Joakim Soria extended the game. Nicholas Castellanos' single put the tying run on. Victor Martinez's line-drive double past an ill-fated attempt by left fielder Leury Garcia tied it.

It marked the second time in a week that the Tigers erased a deficit of three runs or more in the ninth. Unlike their crazy Opening Day contest against the Pirates at Comerica Park, this one wasn't a back-and-forth affair. Detroit held a 7-3 deficit entering the eighth, and Daniel Norris was pitching long relief to get innings before he likely heads to Triple-A Toledo next week.

The Tigers trailed five batters in, missed a bases-loaded chance to answer in the bottom of the first and scored a lone run out of a bases-loaded, no-out opportunity in the eighth. They didn't lead until Mikie Mahtook singled and later scored in a two-run 10th inning.

"Our guys never quit," said manager Ron Gardenhire, whose Twins teams during his previous managerial tenure tormented the White Sox in games like this. "That's what we've talked about since we came over here is play nine innings, finish the ballgame, all the way to the end. You never give up, you never quit, and I haven't seen these guys even think about it. Tonight was a big example of how you play the game all nine innings."

Video: DET@CWS: Candelario hits an RBI single in 10th

They had heroes in abundance, but none of them stars. Goodrum made the team as a superutility player after getting a non-roster invite to Spring Training. He picked up his first Major League stolen base in the third inning, singled and scored in the fifth, then came up big in the ninth. He was looking for the home-run ball after the game.

"Once it went over, it hit me, the emotion of that," Goodrum said. "But the biggest thing was getting those runs in and trying to keep the comeback going. We got two runs out of that."

Leonys Martin, who entered Thursday batting .176 in the leadoff spot, stayed in the game against a tough lefty reliever and plated the go-ahead run with a ground ball to second.

"We keep battling, keep battling," Martin said. "One at a time, everybody fights every at-bat, and we did. Great job and great comeback."

Norris kept the game close with 3 1/3 innings of one-run ball, then Joe Jimenez sent down the middle of the White Sox lineup in order in the 10th inning, which earned him his first Major League win.

"The guys in this clubhouse, we're all playing for each other," Mahtook said. "It's a selfless team. When you have guys like that and you're trying to win games, you end up pulling games like this out."

Tweet from @tigers: "April" pic.twitter.com/TPk0UDNTGY

MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
V-Mart ties it: Martinez's opposite-field line drive down the left-field line left Garcia with a decision to make regarding whether to play it on the hop for a single or charge for a potential game-saving catch. He went for it and missed, sending Castellanos around from first base with the tying run.

Video: DET@CWS: Martinez hits a game-tying double in the 9th

Martin plates go-ahead run: Martin entered the game batting .241 for his career off lefties, including 0-for-2 this season, but Gardenhire stuck with him with runners at the corners and one out in the 10th, thinking he could stay out of the double play. Martin was jammed on an 0-1 pitch, but his ground ball to the right side gave the White Sox no chance at two. After a replay, it left everybody safe.

"I feel confident against lefties," Martin said. "I hit lefties pretty well in Spring Training. Everything slowed down in that at-bat. I was trying to put the ball in play. I knew they weren't going to make a double play on me, so I had confidence."

Greene comes up money: Even down to their final out in the 10th inning, the White Sox would not go quietly against Shane Greene. Omar Narvaez walked and pinch-hitter Nicky Delmonico was hit by a pitch, setting up Yoan Moncada as the game-winning run. But Moncada swung through two curves and a four-seam fastball for his fourth strikeout and finishing off an 0-for-6 showing.

Video: DET@CWS: Greene K's Moncada to pick up the save

QUOTABLE
"When you see stuff like that, the way we played the game, that means a lot. We have a lot of hungry people in this clubhouse, and it's going to be like this until the last day. We're never giving up. Play 27 outs." -- Martin

SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
Dixon Machado's two doubles on Thursday stretched his total to five for the season. He's the first Tiger to hit five doubles in the first six games of a season since Melvin Nieves recorded six in the first six games of the 1996 season.

Video: DET@CWS: Machado hits an RBI double to left-center

MITEL REPLAY OF THE DAY
The White Sox initially had the forceout at second base on Martin's ground ball, but the Tigers challenged, arguing that Tim Anderson wasn't near second base when he received the throw from Moncada. After review, the ruling was overturned, and Jose Iglesias was safe at second. The review led to a crucial add-on run when Jeimer Candelario singled in Iglesias three pitches later.

Video: DET@CWS: Iglesias safe at second after challenge

WHAT'S NEXT
The Tigers are off Friday before their series against the White Sox continues with a 2:10 p.m. ET matinee on Saturday. Michael Fulmer, who took a hard-luck loss despite eight innings of one-run ball against the Pirates last Sunday, will hope for better support this time around. He went 1-1 with a 4.71 ERA in three starts against the White Sox last year.

Watch every out-of-market regular-season game live on MLB.TV.

Jason Beck has covered the Tigers for MLB.com since 2002. Read Beck's Blog, follow him on Twitter @beckjason and Facebook.

Niko Goodrum