Detroit — Maybe AJ Hinch just wanted to go hang out with his kids on Father’s Day.
Or maybe — and perhaps more likely — he was arguing balls and strikes with the umpire behind home plate, who ran Hinch out of the game in the third inning of the Tigers’ 7-3 win over the Texas Rangers on Sunday.
It’s Detroit’s second consecutive win on the heels of losing six straight, and the first time all season the team has scored five or more runs in back-to-back games.
“Anytime you hit, it brings a lot of energy to the team,” Hinch said. “We pitched well and we played some pretty good defense. We hit the ball. We responded to them taking the lead both days, and even coming back and tying the game (today), and we’ve responded.
“It’s been an exceptional brand of baseball that I know everybody’s expected for a while, and it’s nice to put a couple good games together.”
A big chunck of the Tigers’ offensive output came early and all at once, as Robbie Grossman sent a three-run shot over the right-field wall in the first inning to give his team a lead. It was Grossman’s second homer of the season and his second in as many days.
Grossman, who had 23 home runs last season, said he tried to change up how he hit to start the season because of the dimensions of Comerica Park, but realized he just needed to get back to what he normally does.
“I just had to get mechanically right,” he said. “Get back to what I was doing more last year and not worry about where I play, and just get back to who am I.”
Grossman’s blast came just one half-inning after Corey Seager put the Rangers up with his own homer, a solo shot into the Texas bullpen.
Drew Hutchison got the start for Detroit, his second of the season, and tossed 4⅔ innings, allowing four hits and three earned runs. Alex Lange, Wily Peralta, Michael Fulmer, Andrew Chafin and Gregory Soto came on in relief and kept the Rangers off the board for the rest of the outing.
With things knotted and the bases loaded in the fifth, Spencer Torkelson stepped to the plate with a chance to put the Tigers up, and that’s exactly what he did with a two-run single that drove in Harold Castro from third and Javier Báez from second.
Torkelson is now 4-for-9 in his last two games with two RBIs.
“First off, (Torkelson’s hit) was huge for the game,” Hinch said. “Let alone his own psyche and his own confidence, just being part of a win, it’s been a long time coming. … He had a couple tough swings, he stays in the at-bat.
“He’s rewarded for contact there. I always say in this game, contact is your friend, especially when you can get fortunate to hit in some areas they’re not (at).”
The Tigers added some insurance in the ninth inning with a pair of RBIs coming from Tucker Barnhart and Grossman.
It’s the second win of the Riley Greene era in as many games, and the rookie drew two more walks in four plate appearances Sunday. He’s walked four times in his first two major league games.
“He’s not going to get a hit every game of his career, (but) he’s going to put up pretty good at-bats when he’s locked in,” Hinch said. “I got a chance to see it from a different angle on TV, but he’s going to be in control of his at-bats; he took some good swings.
“Again, it’s part of growing. Seeing as many pitches as you can. It’s different styles, different pitches. (He) saw a few more changeups that he hasn’t seen at this level yet. People are going to start watching these at-bats and pitch him a little differently as we move forward. So, find a way to play to win. It doesn’t matter whether you’re the main guy or you’re asked to do something different.”
The Tigers will next head to Boston to begin a three-game set with the Red Sox beginning Monday.