Tigers' turnaround? Daz Cameron comes up big in toppling Twins again

Ted Kulfan
The Detroit News

Detroit — Daz Cameron just missed on a pitch in the third inning that went to the fence, but not over it.

Cameron didn't miss when getting another hittable pitch in the eighth inning.

Tigers' Daz Cameron follows through on his two-run, go-ahead home run in the eighth inning.

Cameron blasted a 420-foot pitch from Minnesota pitcher Emilio Pagan into the left-center seats in the eighth inning, erasing a deficit and leading the Tigers to a 3-2 victory.

BOX SCORE: Tigers 3, Twins 2

Eric Haase singled with one out, and Cameron turned the game completely around with his blast. It was Cameron's first home run of the season.

"The way the ball came off the bat, I knew it had a chance to go," Cameron said. "I hit one earlier in the game that was close to the wall (but outfielder Byron Buxton ran down). I hit it good and put the barrel on it and it felt amazing.

"That's one I won't forget, and we came away the win, so I feel good about that."

Things are beginning to turn around for the Tigers (21-30), who have won seven of their last nine game after a miserable start. They defeated the Central Division-leading Twins (30-23) four of five games in this series.

It's the first time since 1988, according to Elias Sports, the Tigers have won four or five games in a five-game series.

“This is what we expected to do this season because we have a ton of talent, and filled a lot of voids with a totally different team," Haase said. "We’re starting to find our stride and to do that with only one starting pitcher (Tarik Skubal) that we broke camp with is impressive.”

Alex Lange (3-1), in relief, earned the victory, with Gregory Soto earning his 10th save.

Manager AJ Hinch feels the Tigers are simply playing better baseball and executing both offensively and defensively.

"Results will happen if we continue to play better, that's the key," Hinch said. "I'm happy with our group, we had a good week, a good homestand. But it's a result of what our process is."

There's also the fact different players are contributing big plays and helping the Tigers earn these victories.

"It doesn't matter who gets hot or who warms up, it doesn't have to be your most popular or most highly-paid players, or even your best players," Hinch said. "It just has to be some guys coming together and playing well and good things can happen."

Until Cameron's heroics, the Tigers' lone offense came in the first inning.

Willi Castro opened the game with a walk, moved to second on Harold Castro's single, then scored on Jonathan Schoop's single. But the rally ended with Miguel Cabrera grounding out and Spencer Torkelson bouncing into a double play.

The Tigers only had five hits Thursday, but made them count.

"We hung in there the whole game," Hinch said. "I'm proud of our group. There was a little bit of a lull for whatever reason, we couldn't get it going and there wasn't a lot of action. 

"But a nice win."

Cameron supplied the big hit, in a pressure situation, to secure the win.

"A big swing obviously at the most crucial time," Hinch said of Cameron's home run. "He did just miss one in his first at bat, but boy did he come up big at the right time. This is a new opportunity for him, the first time he's gotten pretty decent playing time since I've been here. He's really adapted well to right field. To get a big swing like this, you get to play tomorrow."

Of the consistent playing time, Cameron feels the key is staying ready and contributing to the team.

"I'm glad I was able to do that today," Cameron said. "These guys are great. We all come up with different names and words, so it's always exciting to hear different stuff from them. I'm excited right now, actually, because I just heard that, 'dog off the leash,' (from outfielder Derek Hill) unleash him, let him out.

"That moment was a moment of unleash."

Starter Alex Faedo went five innings, allowing five hits, two runs and two walks while striking out five.

"This clubhouse is really good," Faedo said. "This staff is really good. Everyone's positive each and every day. We're trying to take it one game at a time, and right now, we're playing really good baseball. We're going to keep trying to do that."

Hinch liked the way Faedo persevered through the hard five innings.

"He battled," Hinch said. "That's the kind of Alex Faedo vibe he gives. He just never gives in and stays in there and gets a huge out in the fifth (inning) to get out of his inning."

Twins left fielder Nick Gordon proved a menace for Faedo, igniting all the Twins' offense against Faedo.

Gordon led off the third inning with a single, and promptly scored on Gio Urshela's double, tying the game 1-1.  Gordon factored into the offense again the next inning.

Trevor Larnach worked Faedo for a one-out walk, then after Faedo struck out Gary Sanchez, Gordon ripped a run-scoring double to the gap, scoring Larnach and giving the Twins a 2-1 lead.


Twitter: @tkulfan