Detroit — AJ Hinch has been searching and searching, trying to find some kind of spark for the Tigers offense.
For one game at least, he found it.
Robbie Grossman and Harold Castro, hitting 1-2 in Hinch’s batting order, combined to get on base eight times Saturday and kick-started a five-run rally in the bottom of the seventh that sent the Detroit Tigers to a 7-3 win over the Minnesota Twins at Comerica Park.
Grossman, who set the tone in the first with a lead-off home run and doubled in the third, singled to start the seventh against Twins reliever Tyler Duffey. Castro followed with his third hit of the game.
They both moved up on a ground out by Jeimer Candelario. Miguel Cabrera broke the 2-2 tie, scoring Grossman with an infield hit. Twins third baseman Josh Donaldson made a diving stop on Cabrera’s grounder but couldn’t make a throw.
After Jonathan Schoop walked to load the bases, Twins manager Rocco Baldelli brought in right-hander Derek Law. Niko Goodrum, who was on base four times, greeted him with a two-run single and Jake Rogers, in his first game since being called up from Toledo, followed with another two-run single.
The win breaks a six-game home losing streak for the Tigers.
If you are giving out game balls, save one for right-hander Michael Fulmer. His work in relief of starter Jose Urena was pivotal.
The Twins tied the score 2-2 in the top of the fifth on a 425-foot, two-run home run by Josh Donaldson and then subsequently loaded the bases with one out when Hinch brought in Fulmer.
Fulmer got out of the jam in six pitches. Miguel Sano popped out to second base and Ben Rortvedt flew out to right.
It looked like the Tigers were going to feed off that in the bottom of the fifth, too. Twins starter Jose Berrios hit Grossman and Castro singled him to third. But that rally died quickly.
Candelario hit a fly ball to shallow center. Grossman tagged and bolted toward the plate. He realized too late that he had no chance to score — center fielder Jake Cave threw a seed to cutoff man Sano — and then was thrown out trying to scamper back to third.
Pretty encouraging day for Goodrum. He had a double, single and two RBIs, but also, significantly, two walks. He’s walked just seven times in 100 plate appearances coming into the game.
With the Tigers up 1-0 in the fourth, Nomar Mazara, in his first game back off the injured list, led off with a triple. He was still there after Schoop grounded out.
Goodrum fell quickly into an 0-2 hole, but he laid off two tough breaking balls and lined a change-up into left field, putting the Tigers up 2-0.
For good measure, Goodrum hustled out of the box and turned a single into a double.
Urena, who had gone seven innings in his previous four starts, didn’t have one of his main weapons in this one. The sinker betrayed him. The Twins put 15 of them in play with an average exit velocity of 97 mph.
He ended up allowing nine hits in 4 1/3 innings before Fulmer rescued the fifth inning.
Fulmer kept the score tied through the seventh. The only hit he allowed in his 2 2/3 innings was a two-out single by Sano in the seventh that put the go-ahead run on second. But Grossman helped him out of that, making a running, sliding catch of a sinking liner by Rortvedt.
Alex Lange yielded a run in the eighth, but he struck out Nelson Cruz and Jorge Polanco with Donaldson at third to end the inning.
Gregory Soto walked a pair and loaded the bases in the ninth, but got Max Kepler to ground out to end the game.