Detroit — There’s something to be said for finding a way to win.
On a day the Tigers struck out 15 times, left 11 runners on base and watched a two-run lead disappear in the late innings, it was the heroics of a youngster who is quickly becoming a hero in Detroit that bailed out the Tigers.
With two outs in the bottom of the 10th and two runners on, Akil Baddoo laced a line-drive single to right to score Harold Castro and give the Tigers a 4-3 victory over Minnesota on Tuesday at Comerica Park.
Baddoo, who homered in each of his first two games, came on as a pinch-runner in the ninth before delivering the winning hit as closer Gregory Soto picked up the victory in relief.
It was a tough day overall at the plate for the Tigers (3-2), but Niko Goodrum had three hits out of the leadoff spot while Robbie Grossman had a pair of hits and two RBIs with Jeimer Candelario adding a pair of hits.
Nelson Cruz and Byron Buxton homered for the Twins (3-2), with Buxton’s tying the game in the eighth.
Casey Mize started for the first time this season and was solid the first three innings before beginning to labor a bit in the fourth and the Twins took advantage. Max Kepler led things off with a double, and after Mize was able to get Brent Rooker swinging, Jake Cave drew a walk to put runners on first and second.
Tigers second baseman Jonathan Schoop made a diving play up the middle on a sharp ground ball from Miguel Sano to get Cave out at second, but Willians Astudillo drilled the first pitch he saw from Mize up the middle to score Kepler and give the Twins a 1-0 lead.
The Tigers evened it up the bottom of the fourth as Candelario walked to open the inning then scored on a double from Grossman. They went ahead in the fifth when Goodrum led the inning off with a single before Miguel Cabrera walked on four pitches. Candelario then got ahead 3-1 before drilling a double into right-center, scoring Goodrum and advancing Cabrera to third. Wilson Ramos struck out but Grossman picked him up with a single to right to score Cabrera, putting the Tigers up 3-1 and giving Grossman his second RBI of the game.
Cruz got his third home run against the Tigers in the seventh off Michael Fulmer to pull the Twins within 3-2 before Buxton blasted a 451-foot homer off Jose Cisnero to lead off the eighth, tying the game at 3.
The Tigers and Soto worked out of a jam in the top of the 10th to lead to the heroics from Baddoo in the bottom half of the inning.