DETROIT — He was still a little light-headed from a blood-drawn “random” drug test immediately after the game, but Andrew Romine got his grand slam ball back first — after a little haggling with a fan.
“Feels great,” Romine said with a grin on his face. “I could feel it on the barrel. So, it was at that point when I made contact, it was a matter of whether it was going to stay fair. Once I realize that — it’s a lot of adrenaline going on.”
Romine doesn’t remember the bat flip. The moment he hit the home run, though, he matched his father Kevin Romine’s career total. And gave the Tigers the turnaround they needed in what was an otherwise offensively quiet day for the team.
For the first three innings, Detroit had all of one hit (a double from Justin Upton) against Twins starter Kyle Gibson. The right-hander has been using his changeup with more regularity, and it took one time through the order for the Tigers bats to pick up on it and adjust.
They did just that in the fourth, but it was Romine who put the finishing touch on eight men coming to the plate that inning. Before that, though, Tyler Collins put in a key at-bat with one out and the bases loaded that gave him that chance in the first place.
Romine has been hitting well, but so, too, have the rest of the lineup — excepting the three-four-five in the order. None of Miguel Cabrera, Victor Martinez, and Justin Upton have homered as of yet, and six of the Tigers’ 11 homers have come from players who ordinarily wouldn’t carry the team.
Least of all being Romine, who had homered a total of six times in his major league career prior to Wednesday’s grand slam. He had hit a multi-run homer just once — Sept. 27, 2016 — before. But that’s just how this season has started for Detroit.
“It is a little odd to be backwards,” Romine said. “But, I mean, that’s baseball. They’re going to hit theirs. They’re going to hit their 20, 30 home runs every year, like they always do.”
The Tigers have won three in a row, have a 6-2 record, and are in first place in the American League Central Division. Their starting rotation has been effective with quality starts or at the very least, grinded their way through tough outings for close wins. And the offensive production is coming from the unlikeliest of places.
In Romine’s case, he got your typical Gatorade shower after the game, and a hug from Michael Fulmer in-game when he gave the 2016 AL Rookie of the Year some breathing room. It was the least the offense could do, he said, with the way Fulmer had pitched.
And the moment resulted in a new piece of memorabilia after talking and hanging out with the fan who caught his home run ball.
“Oh, yeah. I’m keeping that one,” Romine said with a laugh. “That one’s going right there on the shelf, right there when I walk in my room.”