By NOAH TRISTER, AP Baseball Writer
DETROIT (AP) — Andrew Romine hit his first career grand slam, and the Detroit Tigers rallied from an early three-run deficit to beat the Minnesota Twins 5-3 on Wednesday.
The Tigers trailed 3-0 before scoring five runs in the fourth inning, with Romine delivering the key hit when his drive to right field easily cleared the wall to give Detroit the lead.
Michael Fulmer (1-0) allowed three runs and four hits in six innings, walking one and striking out seven. Detroit’s maligned bullpen pitched three hitless innings, with Alex Wilson working the final two for his third career save and first this season. He walked two in the ninth but retired Eduardo Escobar on a flyball to end it.
Kyle Gibson (0-1) allowed five runs and four hits in four innings. Brian Dozier led off the game with a homer for Minnesota.
Detroit has won five of six to take sole possession of first place in the AL Central. The Tigers and Twins came into the day tied for the lead.
Minnesota was ahead 3-0 when the Tigers loaded the bases with one out in the fourth. Tyler Collins hit an RBI single, but after James McCann’s flare was caught by Dozier, the second baseman, Gibson was one out away from getting out of the jam with the lead still intact.
Instead, Romine connected on a 1-2 pitch. It was only the seventh career home run for the 31-year-old utilityman, who started this game in center field.
The Tigers have homered in their first eight games this season for the first time in franchise history.
Fulmer, who threw six scoreless innings in a no-decision against Boston last week, was less sharp against the Twins. Dozier put Minnesota up 1-0 with his 20th leadoff homer, tying Jacque Jones for the top spot on the team’s career list.
Joe Mauer added a two-run single in the third for the Twins, but that was Minnesota’s final hit of the game.
Tigers: Detroit continues to be without J.D. Martinez (sprained right foot) in RF. Collins started there Wednesday and had two hits.
Twins: RHP Phil Hughes (1-0) takes the mound Thursday when Minnesota tries to avoid a three-game sweep in this series.
Tigers: RHP Jordan Zimmermann (1-0) makes his second start of the season. He allowed a run in six innings in a win over Boston on Saturday.
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