MINNEAPOLIS -- The Tigers rallied late, keyed by a three-run homer from Nick Castellanos in the sixth inning and a go-ahead RBI double from Jarrod Saltalamacchia in the eighth, to finish off a sweep of the Twins with a 6-5 win on Sunday at Target Field.
"This is baseball," said Tigers designated hitter Victor Martinez, who had three hits on Sunday. "We just make sure that we show up ready to play and see what happens. Things are going pretty good right now and we just hope to keep this rolling."
The Twins held a three-run lead heading into the sixth, when Ricky Nolasco served up the game-tying three-run blast to Castellanos. Nolasco had pitched well to that point, but ended up allowing five runs on eight hits over 5 2/3 innings in a no-decision.
Tigers right-hander Mike Pelfrey, making his first start against his former team, struggled, as he lasted four-plus innings, surrendering five runs on eight hits and three walks. But Detroit's bullpen picked him up, combining to throw five scoreless innings with closer Francisco Rodriguez picking up his seventh save. Miguel Sano hit a two-out double off Rodriguez in the ninth, but he was thrown out while trying to advance to third on the play to end the game.
"It's a symptom of where we're at," Twins manager Paul Molitor said. "Young players get emotional and try to do more than what the situation calls for. There's no advantage to get to third there. We all see that, but not from a perspective in the middle of a play. He's trying to play emotionally and trying to help the team. It cost us there, at least in terms of having a chance to have a game-tying hit."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED Pulling ahead for good: The middle of the Tigers' batting order came through again. Martinez and Upton singled in the eighth, and Upton came around to score on Saltalamacchia's double off Pressly when the relay man dropped the throw from left field. Martinez was 9-for-13 in the series, while Upton started to come around with three hits on Sunday and seven hits in 13 at-bats in the series.
"Go out there and swing," Martinez said. "I see anything up, I swing, see if I can keep finding holes."
Twins cash in: Minnesota scored three times in the fifth, with Pelfrey exiting after loading the bases with nobody out. Joe Mauer brought home the first run with an RBI double earlier in the inning, while Oswaldo Arcia came through with an RBI single with the bases loaded and Kurt Suzuki added a sacrifice fly to left.
"You don't want to keep having bad outings over and over again," Pelfrey said. "There's always a sense of urgency whenever you have a bad outing to kind of turn it around and get things going. Obviously it just hasn't happened yet."
Nick the stick: Castellanos' strong season continued with his three-run homer in the sixth. Castellanos' fourth home run reached the first few rows in the left-field stands, with a stiff wind blowing in. Castellanos has hit safely in five straight games, going 9-for-18 in that stretch to drive up his average to an American League-high .361 this season. More >
Minnesota jumps ahead early: The Twins scored in a hurry, as Byung Ho Park picked up his first hit of the season with runners in scoring position with an RBI single in the first. Park was previously 0-for-15 in those situations. Arcia followed with an RBI single to give the Twins a 2-0 lead in the first.
"We had a couple two-out hits in the first," Molitor said. "But it's disappointing. We were trying to come out of the weekend series with a win. We had some opportunities."
"It's a bad feeling. I feel like I was throwing the ball good all day. But that's what that lineup can do. It's very frustrating. That loss is on me. If I make that pitch, we win that game." -- Nolasco, on giving up the game-tying homer to Castellanos
"At this point, there's no reason to think he wouldn't." -- Tigers manager Brad Ausmus, on whether the struggling Pelfrey would make his next start
Detroit challenged a play at first base in the third inning when Jose Iglesias was called out. Brian Dozier had to back up to field the ball at second base before getting off the throw to first baseman Mauer. After review, it was ruled that the call stands.
The umpires also reviewed a call in the fifth, when Mauer hit a double high off the wall in left to score Dozier. After a review, the call of double was confirmed.
WHAT'S NEXT Tigers:Justin Verlander (2-2, 5.46 ERA) faces the Indians for the 45th time in his career on Tuesday at 6:10 p.m. ET. Verlander has faced Cleveland more than any other team, and he is 18-19 with a 4.38 ERA and 300 strikeouts in 279 1/3 innings against the Tribe. Josh Tomlin (3-0, 3.18 ERA) starts for the Indians.
Twins: The Twins head to Houston for a three-game series starting Monday at 7:10 p.m. CT. Top prospect Jose Berrios is set to make his second career start opposite Astros ace Dallas Keuchel (2-3, 4.41 ERA). Berrios gave up five runs over four-plus innings in his debut against the Indians on Wednesday.