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Tigers rally in the 8th to 'shower' Gardenhire with milestone win

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Detroit — Tigers bench coach Steve Liddle strolled through the clubhouse following the Tigers' 5-2 come-from-behind win over the Twins Wednesday and casually remarked that it was the 1,100th managerial win for Ron Gardenhire.

"As soon as we heard that, it was, 'Get his butt in here,'" Nick Castellanos said.

Castellanos, James McCann, Leonys Martin and others ambushed Gardenhire with a multi-brand beer shower that had him dripping through his postgame news conference.

BOX SCORE: Tigers 5, Twins 2

"I didn't have a clue about that," Gardenhire said of the milestone. "As (Indians manager) Terry Francona said, it means you are old and you've been managing a long time." 

One thousand, sixty eight of those wins, of course, came as the manager of the Twins.

"Yeah, I got a lot of them over there," he said. "I know a lot of kids over there and they mean a lot to me. We went through a lot of hard times over there, too. But I'm wearing the Big D now, so this is really special."

Special, too, for how and when it happened. 

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Just 24 hours earlier, the postgame mood in the Tigers' clubhouse was somber. Not only had they lost a game, they lost their franchise player, Miguel Cabrera, for the rest of the season with a torn biceps tendon.

But Gardenhire went into that clubhouse Tuesday night and told his team, essentially, to get your heads up and come back the next night and try win a game. Then he told Castellanos to turn the music up.

"This is a big win for us," said left-hander Matthew Boyd, who survived a 36-pitch, two-run first inning and kept it a one-run game through five innings. "It's tough losing a guy like Miggy. But we've got guys that are able-bodied in here. We have guys that can do it and we believe it."

Stepping up were John Hicks, the new everyday first baseman, and Niko Goodrum, the former Twin, who each had three hits and ignited the winning, four-run rally in the eighth.  

Goodrum, who homered off Twins starter Jose Berrios in the second inning, is now 6-for-17 off his former team, with a pair of homers.

"It's not about the team I used to play for," Goodrum said. "It's just going out there and competing, regardless of what's on the front of their jersey." 

Stepping up, too, were rookies Grayson Greiner and Victor Reyes who delivered the tying and go-ahead runs with opposite-field singles.

"That's what it's about," said Castellanos, who went 0-for-5. "I didn't contribute anything today. But you have guys like Greiner and Reyes and Niko — that's when a team is rolling, when you can just pick the stick, flip the coin, everybody is picking up slack and doing their part.

"Even when I don't come through, or Candy (Jeimer Candelario), that's OK because we know the guys behind us will step up and do it." 

The Tigers had gone 0-for-8 with runners in scoring position through the first seven innings and trailed 2-1.

But after Hicks and Goodrum started the party against reliever Addison Reed in the eighth, Greiner squibbed one off the end of his bat that rolled past the bag at first into shallow right field. Ronny Rodriguez, who ran for Hicks, scored to tie the game.

With two outs, Reyes, the Rule 5 draftee who earlier had a bunt single, slapped a two-strike pitch in the hole between shortstop and third to score Goodrum.

"It's a tough spot to be in," Hicks said of Reyes. "Not getting consistent at-bats. But he works his tail off. Every day in the cage he's hitting for 20 minutes. He hits during the game. He's been doing a ton of stuff in the weight room trying to get stronger.

"He's working his tail off and it's showing."

Martin capped the rally with a two-run single, aided by a throwing error by Twins center fielder Ryan LaMarre (Royal Oak).

"This game is a testament to how we play," Boyd said. "It's a testament to how we're going to fight every game right to the end. This was an awesome team win. And I am happy for Gardy. He instilled this culture into us."

The Twins managed to get one hit after the first inning. Buck Farmer, Drew VerHagen, Joe Jimenez and closer Shane Greene (16th save) each worked a scoreless inning of relief to lock it down.

"We got a lot of big hits from some young people, none bigger than Reyes' there at the end," Gardenhire said. "We just kept grinding. Our bullpen really shut it down, one inning at a time, which was real nice. 

"After everything that went down last night, this feels pretty good."

cmccosky@detroitnews.com

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