MINNEAPOLIS -- The first inning of Detroit's game with the Twins on Friday was typical of how the season has gone for the Tigers thus far, but the second inning was how the Tigers would like the season to go the rest of the way.
The Tigers' bats came alive in Detroit's 10-6 victory over the Twins. After scoring a total of six runs in three straight losses to Cleveland, the Tigers had seven runs after five innings against Minnesota.
Detroit pounded out 16 hits off Minnesota pitchers. And, after leaving 10 runners on base in each of the past three games, the Tigers only left five on base in the victory over the Twins.
In the second inning, Detroit scored four runs on five hits to erase a 2-0 deficit, which was the key to the victory according to manager Jim Leyland.
"Getting down 2-0, coming back like that, to me, that was the difference in the game," he said. "The key was the second inning for us. We get a four spot after they get two. If they hold us that next inning, who knows, maybe it's a whole different game."
Brennan Boesch and Alex Avila each collected doubles with runners in scoring position off Twins starter Anthony Swarzak. Both Boesch and Avila each had two doubles, while Avila was the main run producer, driving in three. Detroit would add two more runs in the top of the fourth to chase Swarzak from the game. Boesch and Prince Fielder added three hits and each collected two RBIs in the game and Delmon Young chipped in with three hits.
The Tigers may have benefited from an opposing pitcher who was not feeling 100 percent come game time, according to Twins manager Ron Gardenhire.
"Swarzak had to battle through it and had a little bit of a flu-bug today. He had an IV earlier in the day," Gardenhire said. "He didn't really have his mojo going as they say. He was up in the zone. He's actually done pretty good, but with where we're at, we needed a pitcher and took our shot. But the flu didn't help him. He won't make any excuses, but I actually sent him home. I told him to go home and get some rest."
Friday's run total for Detroit was the most since a 10-8 victory over Chicago May 15.
"That's a little bit more like we are supposed to be," Leyland said. "We broke out a little bit, two-out hits, big hits. It's good to see, we have to sustain it a little bit. We did that a couple times this year and then we went back into a little funk."
Drew Smyly threw 48 pitches in his first two innings of work, but got important outs when he needed, settled down and retired nine out of the next 10 batters he faced before leaving after five innings of work, giving way to reliever Brayan Villarreal.
"I got to get rid of those first-inning troubles I've been getting myself into," Smyly said. "You just try to continue to battle and work your way out of it. Our offense put up runs, it seemed like every inning. When they are doing that, it makes it easy for the pitcher. You have to just throw strikes."
Smyly threw 93 pitches, gave up four runs, three of which were earned, struck out two and walked two to earn the victory. He improved to 2-1 this season with a 3.14 ERA.
Despite getting the win, the Tigers were sloppy in the field. Detroit made just two official errors, but botched double plays, made errant pick-off attempts and bad throws. Two of Minnesota's six runs were unearned.
Leyland said he was not too concerned about the fielding miscues because both errors were credited to Villarreal, a reliever. He said that by doing some more pitchers fielding practice, Villarreal can correct those mistakes.
"I am not so concerned about that. That PFP, that's what we do every day in Spring Training," Leyland said. "I can assure you, the next time we work out early on the road or get back to Detroit, Villarreal will be out on the mound with comebackers to him. We will practice that because he's going to need some help with that."
Villarreal may not be alone on the mound the next time PFP is the focus, as Tiger pitchers have combined for eight errors this season, second highest in the Majors.
Joe Kieser is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.