DETROIT -- Mike Napoli and Pete Kozma homered like it was 2013 and that was good enough to lift the Rangers to a 5-2 victory over the Tigers at Comerica Park on Sunday night.
Napoli's home run was reminiscent of a homer he hit against the Tigers in the '13 postseason while with the Red Sox, and Kozma's shot was his first since '13. Together they helped the Rangers leave Detroit having won two out of three against the Tigers.
"A lot of feel-good going into Boston," Rangers manager Jeff Banister said. "Nap going deep and a big home run by Kozma, none bigger. Look, we needed that run. Got good barrel."
Kozma was playing because Banister wanted to give Joey Gallo a night off at third base with left-hander Matt Boyd on the mound for the Tigers.
"Offensively he chipped in and he made some nice plays defensively," Banister said. "He's always ready. Carries around five or six gloves. It's nice comfort zone to have a guy on the bench ready to play and when he comes in, he chips in."
The game was tied going into the fifth when Napoli stepped up with one out and crushed a first-pitch slider over the wall in straightaway center field. The home run left the bat with an exit velocity of 111.3 mph and went a projected distance of 446 feet, according to Statcast™.
It was his second-hardest hit home run in the past three years. He hit one with a 111.5 mph exit velocity against the Twins last year that traveled an estimated 463 feet.
This one also resembled Napoli's home run in Game 5 of the 2013 American League Championship series when he hit one off Anibel Sanchez that soared high over the center-field wall. That helped give the Red Sox a 4-3 pivotal victory on their way to a world championship.
"I don't think I'll ever forget that one," Napoli said. "Anyone knows when you come here and go out to center, you hit it pretty well."
Kozma's home run wasn't hit quite as hard or as far as Napoli's blast. Kozma hit his on a 2-2 fastball from Boyd with one out in the sixth and lifted it just over the wall and a leaping attempt by left-fielder Justin Upton. The exit velocity was 94 mph and the distance was 371 feet.
But it gave the Rangers a 4-2 lead.
"Every run matters, especially against these guys," Kozma said. "It felt good. I didn't know if it would go. This is a big ballpark."
Kozma's home run the fourth of his career and his first since April 2, 2013 with the Cardinals against the D-backs. Kozma had gone 599 plate appearances without a home run, the second longest active streak in the Major Leagues. Paul Janish of the Orioles has gone 718 plate appearances without going deep.
T.R. Sullivan has covered the Rangers since 1989, and for MLB.com since 2006. Follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.