Detroit is 4-0 for the first time since 1985. Last season, the Tigers started 0-9, didn’t win their fourth game until May 4 and finished with an AL-record 119 losses.
“I’m kind of speechless,” Tigers manager Alan Trammell said. “I couldn’t be happier. It gives us a breath of fresh air, but I don’t want it to stop.”
With Johnson facing the Twins, the Tigers’ good fortune may continue. Johnson, acquired from Baltimore during the offseason, is 5-0 with a 3.08 ERA in seven career outings against Minnesota.
Bobby Higginson, who has been part of many miserable seasons with the Tigers since 1995, hit a go-ahead, two-run double with two outs in the sixth. He capped the seventh-inning rally with a two-run triple.
“It’s a very different lineup over there,” Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. “They took their beating last year and they’re not ready to do that again.”
The Twins were 44-12 against the Tigers the past three seasons, but Jacque Jones said they can’t expect to keep up that pace.
“They’re for real,” said Jones, who hit a solo homer Thursday.
The two-time defending AL Central champion Twins opened the season by winning two of three at home against Cleveland, but were hit hard by injuries.
Catcher Joe Mauer had surgery on his left knee Thursday, a day after going on the disabled list. Matthew LeCroy, the designated hitter who had taken over behind the plate for Mauer, also went on the DL on Wednesday with a rib cage injury. Two days later, center fielder Torii Hunter joined those two on the DL due to a strained right hamstring.
Catcher Rob Bowen was recalled from Double-A New Britain and hit his first career home run Thursday.