June 15, 2014 at 6:59 pm

Tigers 4, Twins 3

Tigers' fortunes shift upward with walk-off win

Detroit — Maybe the Tigers are gaining some traction.

They’ve won two of the last three series, won three of four games overall including Sunday’s dramatic 4-3 win over Minnesota. There’s a bit more consistency in all departments.

And with a key four-game series beginning Monday against second-place Kansas City, the turnaround is in just the right time.

Afterward, there was a belief the worse may finally be over.

“We know what we have to do,” reliever Joba Chamberlain said. “We have to win series. This was a good series to win, with KC coming in, they’re playing good baseball.

“This was one of those wins it took everybody.”

This victory came suddenly in the ninth..

Victor Martinez drove a long fly ball to the right-field wall, which Twins right fielder Oswaldo Arcia dropped, allowing Torii Hunter — who opened the inning with a single — to advance to third .

“I thought the ball was gone,” Martinez said. “I hit it good. The wind was stronger than me.”

It didn’t take long, though, for the Tigers to get the winning across home plate.

J.D. Martinez lifted a sacrifice fly to center field, scoring Hunter for the Tigers’ third walk-off victory this season.

“We’re trying to be more consistent and rattle off a bunch of wins,” said Ian Kinsler, who had two hits and made some key defensive plays. “That’s our goal, to try to continue to win every game and separate from the rest of the league.”

Rick Porcello was effective through seven innings, and the Tigers’ bullpen did its job. Chamberlain and Joe Nathan (3-2) each worked scoreless innings, Nathan earning the victory.

“Going into the season, that’s the way we would have imagined it,” manager Brad Ausmus said.

The Twins took a 3-2 lead in the top of the sixth inning, only to see the Tigers tie it in their half of the inning.

Porcello was cruising along until the Twins scored their three runs, all with two out, in the seventh.

Josh Willingham doubled in Joe Mauer (who had doubled), then scored on a single by Kendrys Morales.

Morales moved to second when Arcia walked, then scored on Kurt Suzuki’s single. The throw from left fielder J.D. Martinez to Alex Avila appeared to be in time to get the lumbering Morales, but Avila bobbled the ball, allowing Morales to score.

Other than that, Porcello was in control. He allowed five hits and three earned runs, walking three and striking out four.

“The best part was the sinker was getting ground balls,” Porcello said. “I felt I was being efficient. I’d been battling some mechanical stuff. I was happy with the whole game overall.

“It was a good win for us, a good feeling.”

The Tigers rallied to tie the game in their half of the sixth.

Victor Martinez walked and J.D. Martinez singled to open the inning. Nick Castellanos drove in Victor Martinez with a double to the fence in left field.

“We got an early lead, I gave it back, we were down and we climbed back and we won in the bottom of the ninth,” Porcello said. “It was a fantastic win, a great win for us.”

The Tigers struck early.

Ian Kinsler opened the Tigers’ first inning with a double, and scored on a Victor Martinez double with two out.

In the second inning, Austin Jackson led off with a triple and scored on Castellanos’ sacrifice fly.


Tigers designated hitter Victor Martinez had two hits and an RBI on Sunday against the Twins. / Robin Buckson / Detroit News