Detroit — Back on Aug. 31, the Tigers helped the Twins establish a Major League Baseball single-season home run record. The Twins hit six home runs that day, making Comerica Park look like a bandbox, surpassing the mark of 267 homers set by the Yankees last season.
Incidentally, the Tigers won that game, 10-7.
Ten days later, again at Comerica Park and again at the expense of the Tigers pitching staff, the Yankees on Tuesday also hit six home runs — retaking their home run record, at least temporarily, with 276. The Twins hit another one Tuesday, so they are tied with 276 each.
But guess what? The Tigers found a way to steal this game, too.
They fought out of 6-0, 8-6 and 11-10 holes, and Jordy Mercer delivered a walk-off single in the ninth and the Tigers beat the AL East-leading Yankees, 12-11.
"It doesn't matter how you get there," Mercer said. "They got it done with long balls and we got it done by stringing together a bunch of singles. At the end of the day, it's about who has the most runs.
"But it is satisfying. They've got a lot of big boppers, guys who can hit them all over the place. But we'll take our little singles and score our runs."
Grayson Greiner, who had three hits, opened the ninth inning with a double off Yankees reliever Chace Adams.
"I faced him a lot in the minors," Greiner said. "I was just looking for something up in the zone. He's a power fastball-slider guy, so I just told myself to see it up."
Willi Castro was inserted to pinch-run and had no trouble scoring on Mercer's opposite-field single on a 2-2 pitch.
"Just incredible," Greiner said. "They've got a great offense and we saw that tonight. They have power one through nine. You make a mistake and there's a good chance they will hit it hard and put it out of the park.
"But we fought back every time. Nobody got down in the dugout. It felt like every time they hit a home run it crushed our spirit a little bit, but we got back up and had good at-bats up and down the lineup. What a great win against one of the best two or three teams in baseball."
What a night, indeed. Twenty-four runs, four lead-changes, 27 hits,15 pitchers.
"We've been saying it over and over again, we feel like we're playing good baseball, but only on the road," manager Ron Gardenhire said. "We haven't been able to do anything at home. Tonight our fans got to see what we've been seeing on the road and that's exciting."
Brett Gardner hit two solo home runs in the first two innings against Tigers starter Edwin Jackson, who was tagged for six runs in those two innings. Didi Gregorius also had a pair of home runs.
"They were hitting balls into the seats every five seconds, it seemed like," Gardenhire said. "But we hung in there and we got the final hit to win the ballgame."
The Tigers scored three times in the bottom of the sixth to go ahead 10-8. But with two outs in the seventh, Edwin Encarnacion (two-run shot off John Schreiber) and Gregorius (off Daniel Stumpf) hit back-to-back home runs to put the Yankees up 11-10.
The Tigers tied it in the bottom of the seventh off Yankees reliever Adam Ottavino. Mercer walked and advanced to second on a passed ball by catcher Gary Sanchez. With two outs, Harold Castro, who had three hits on the night, singled him home.
"With the game going like that, you've got to continue to score," Mercer said. "They weren't going to let up, so anytime you had a chance to get a run, you better get the run."
The Tigers batted around twice in the game.
Christian Stewart’s solo home run — his third in four games and 10th of the season — put the Tigers within a run, 8-7, going into the sixth inning.
They promptly loaded the bases against Yankees reliever Cory Gearrin on singles by Greiner, Victor Reyes and Harold Castro. Miguel Cabrera then tied the game with a sacrifice fly to left, his second RBI of the game.
Reyes and Castro smartly advanced a base on Cabrera’s fly ball and scored on Jeimer Candelario’s third hit of the game.
The second big inning came in the third, after the Yankees had bolted to a 6-0 lead.
"Nobody talked about it, we just went to work," Greiner said. "We had a game in Oakland where we got down 4-0 in the second inning and came back to win. Since I've been back up here, it seems like we have a lot of fight."
The Tigers put together a 10-batter, six-run, six-hit third inning off Yankees starter Nestor Cortes, Jr., and former Tigers farmhand Luis Cessa. The surge was aided greatly when second baseman Gleyber Torres dropped a throw at second base on what may have been a double-play grounder by Dawel Lugo.
Cabrera (a line drive off the wall in right-center), Candelario and Travis Demeritte all singled in runs. Stewart contributed a sacrifice fly and Greiner, with two outs, plated two runs with a single to center.
The Yankees took the lead back in the top of the fourth. Torres, atoning for his miscue, lined a two-out solo home run over the fence in left-center off Tigers lefty reliever Tyler Alexander.
"For the young guys, this is something to build off of," Mercer said. "I think guys can see that you can never count yourself out. A lot of people counted us out in this series, but you never know.
"With a group of young kids like this, you've got to keep battling and clawing, knowing good things can happen if you just keep playing. That's the great thing about baseball; you can't predict it. That's what makes it fun."