DETROIT (AP) — Ron Gardenhire didn’t mind getting a beer shower from his players Wednesday night.
He just didn’t know why it was happening.
“They ambushed me, and they really got me,” he said after his Detroit Tigers beat the Minnesota Twins 5-2. “I wasn’t expecting it, and now I’m dripping all over the place.”
While Gardenhire didn’t realize he had just won his 1,100th game as a manager, someone — he suspects bench coach Steve Liddle — tipped off James McCann. McCann rounded up his teammates and raided the cooler.
“We soaked him,” Tigers third baseman Nicholas Castellanos said. “He didn’t know what hit him.”
The milestone had a little extra meaning for Gardenhire because it came against the Twins, the team he managed from 2002-14.
“I have this big D on my chest now, and it was the Tigers who won this one, but an awful lot of them came with the team on the other side of the diamond tonight,” he said.
For most of the night, it appeared the Tigers weren’t going to get the win. Playing for the first time since Miguel Cabrera’s season-ending biceps injury, they stranded eight batters in the first seven innings and trailed 2-1.
The Twins then failed to add an insurance run in the eighth, stranding Eduardo Escobar after a one-out triple, and it came back to haunt them.
With one out in the bottom of the inning, John Hicks, Niko Goodrum and Grayson Greiner hit consecutive singles off Addison Reed (1-5) to tie the game. Jose Iglesias popped out, but Victor Reyes grounded an RBI single to left.
“I had everyone where I wanted them — 0-1 or 0-2 — but I wasn’t finishing the job,” Reed said. “Jose (Berrios) threw a hell of a game, and I let him down. That’s the worst part of this.”
Reyes, a Rule 5 pick, started the night hitting .196 with four RBIs in 30 games. Used mainly as a pinch runner, he has only accumulated 50 plate appearances.
“We were going to be thrilled no matter who got the hit, but everyone feels great for Victor,” Hicks said. “He’s in a really tough situation because he doesn’t get many at-bats, but he never complains and works harder than anyone. There are nights where he’s getting swings in during the game.”
Leonys Martin followed with an RBI single and Reyes scored on right fielder Robbie Grossman’s throwing error to make it 5-2.
“I didn’t contribute anything and Miggy can’t help us right now, but we still won the game,” Castellanos said. “That’s how you can tell this team is good. Every guy in this room is picking up the slack.”
Joe Jimenez (3-0) got the win with a scoreless eighth. Shane Greene, Detroit’s fifth pitcher, threw a perfect ninth for his 16th save.
Berrios allowed one run on seven hits and a walk in six innings. Detroit’s Matthew Boyd gave up two runs on three hits and two walks in five innings.
The Twins scored twice before Detroit recorded an out in the first inning. Boyd hit Brian Dozier, Eddie Rosario doubled and Escobar hit a two-run single.
The Twins, though, only got two more hits in the game.
“When it’s 2-0 that fast, I can’t afford to get mad at myself,” Boyd said. “I’ve just got to get the next guy out and start posting zeroes.”
Goodrum made it 2-1 with a second-inning homer off Berrios, his friend from their minor league days in the Twins system.
“It’s just part of the game,” Berrios said. “We’re still friends, but now we’re competing. He got me that time.”
Like Boyd, though, Berrios settled in to keep Detroit off the board for the rest of his outing. The Tigers had runners on second and third with one out in the third before he struck out Castellanos and Jeimer Candelario.
Dozier appeared to make a spectacular play with one out in the fifth, using his glove to scoop Reyes’ drag bunt to Logan Morrison at first. The Tigers, though, challenged the call and it was overturned after a lengthy review. Martin followed with an infield single, and after Castellanos struck out, Berrios hit Candelario to load the bases.
Victor Martinez fell behind 0-2 and grounded out to end the inning with the Twins still up 2-1.
The Tigers missed another opportunity in the sixth. Hicks started the inning with a single and took third on Goodrum’s ground-rule double, but Berrios struck out Greiner and Iglesias before retiring Reyes.
“In a situation like that, you just hope that someone is eventually going to get the big hit,” Gardenhire said. “It took a while, but they finally came through.”
Twins: OF Byron Buxton (toe) took batting practice on Wednesday, while Joe Mauer (neck and head) played for Triple-A Rochester on his rehab assignment.
Tigers: With McCann still sidelined by the flu and Hicks moving to first base in the wake of Cabrera’s injury, Greiner was the starting catcher. McCann was feeling well enough to warm up pitchers between innings and could be back on Thursday.
The teams finish their three-game series on Thursday afternoon, with Minnesota’s Lance Lynn (4-4, 5.08) facing Detroit’s Michael Fulmer (2-5, 4.40).
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