After scoring eight runs on a 0-6 road trip, the Tigers got three hits against Ervin Santana and the Minnesota bullpen in their first game back at home.
Somehow, they turned that into enough for a 5-3 victory. Two of the hits were two-run home runs by Niko Goodrum and Jose Iglesias and the third was a JaCoby Jones triple that led to Detroit's first run.
"Three hits isn't ideal, but we got a lot out of them," Tigers manager Ron Gardenhire said. "We made some great defensive plays and we got a lot of pitching. We needed this."
It was the second time in franchise history the Tigers had gotten three or more hits in a game without a single or double. They beat the Washington Senators 3-1 on May 22, 1971 in a game when they also had a triple and two homers as their only hits.
"We had a day off yesterday, and I think we were all able to put that road trip behind us," Goodrum said. "I know I was able to work with the hitting coaches and make some adjustments that I needed."
Jordan Zimmermann (5-4) gave up two unearned runs on eight hits in 6 1/3 innings. He struck out one batter and didn't issue a walk.
"I didn't have my best stuff, but I felt like I was able to locate all four of my pitches," he said. "The fastball was good, the slider was really good, and I yanked a couple curveballs but also had some good ones. I even played with a baby split that I threw a few times."
Ervin Santana (0-1) took the loss in his fourth start of the season. He allowed five runs on three hits and two walks in six innings, striking out two.
"Some of the time you give up seven hits, eight hits, even 10 hits and still win the game," he said. "Sometimes you pitch good and lose. It's a weird game. Nothing you can do."
The Twins had scoring chances in the first two innings but couldn't take advantage.
In the next inning, Nick Cave wiped out rounding second on what should have been an easy triple and Zimmermann escaped the inning. Cave made up for it in the bottom of the inning, making a running catch of Goodrum's 419-foot liner to the center-field wall.
"We had baserunners, but we didn't get the hits we needed to score," Twins manager Paul Molitor said. "I thought Ervin pitched better, but the two two-run homers were the difference at the end of the day."
The Twins did take a 1-0 lead in the third. After Polanco's double in the third, Forsythe singled off Zimmermann's glove. Goodrum's belated throw to first was too high, allowing the runner to score.
Jones led off the bottom of the inning with a heads-up triple. On an apparent double, he took a long turn and stopped. When left fielder Eddie Rosario threw behind him, Jones took third and scored the tying run on Mike Gerber's sacrifice fly.
"I never know what Jonesy is doing out there," Gardenhire said with a smile. "We didn't know where he was going and neither did they, so he got away with it. He's always entertaining."
Goodrum added a two-run homer in the fourth to put the Tigers up 3-1, and Iglesias made it 5-1 with his own two-run shot in the fifth. Mitch Garver's sacrifice fly made it 5-2 in the sixth.
Twins: RHP Aaron Slegers was removed from his rehab assignment with Triple-A Rochester when he experienced discomfort in his pitching shoulder. He's been on the disabled list since July 15 with inflammation in the shoulder.
SANTANA SOUNDS OFF
Santana wasn't pleased with the front office's decision to trade closer Fernando Rodney this week.
"We are only 10 games out and we have two months to left. It seems like they gave up," he said. "We're not giving up but they did. They take our pieces away and it is difficult to play without our good pieces."
NEW TIGERS PITCHER
The Tigers signed free-agent pitcher Zach McAllister to a major-league contract on Friday. McCallister went 1-2 with a 4.97 ERA in 41 relief outings for the Cleveland Indians before being released on Aug. 7. McCallister will pitch out of Detroit's bullpen. To make room for him on the roster, the Tigers designated Jacob Turner for assignment.
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