Ivan Rodriguez tied the score with a two-out single in the ninth inning, and Rondell White singled home the winning run in the 11th in Detroit's 4-3 victory Tuesday night.
With Tampa Bay ahead 3-2, Danys Baez blew a save for the third time in six chances. Carlos Pena walked leading off the ninth and advanced on a sacrifice. Brandon Inge walked with two outs, and Rodriguez blooped a single down the left-field line.
"It was tough, but I was able to come through," Rodriguez said.
Inge singled off Travis Harper (0-2) leading off the 11th and continued to second when the ball got past Carl Crawford for an error. Rodriguez was intentionally walked, Ramon Martinez sacrificed and with the outfield in, White lined his single off the wall in left-center.
"You don't have much margin for error with runners in those positions," Harper said. "I hung a breaking ball. He got it up in the air."
That's just the pitch White was looking for.
"I know how they pitch me, they throw me offspeed pitches," he said. "I just guessed right."
The Tigers also squandered several scoring opportunities.
They loaded the bases with one out in the sixth, had a runner on second with one out in the seventh and the bases loaded with one out in the 10th and couldn't score a run. White led off the 10th with a triple, but Harper worked out of that jam.
"It didn't come easy. We had our chances," Detroit manager Alan Trammell said. "The bottom line is we won, that's all that matters."
Tampa Bay reliever Seth McClung denied the Tigers in the sixth and seventh. He allowed two hits, walked two, but struck out five in the two innings.
"My job is to just go in there and get outs and keep my team in it," McClung said. "I pitched well once I calmed down a bit and threw some strikes."
Franklyn German (1-0) retired two batters for the win.
Marcus Thames and Omar Infante hit back-to-back home runs for Detroit, and Josh Phelps homered for Tampa Bay.
Casey Fossum allowed two runs and four hits in five innings with seven strikeouts and two walks. Making his first start of the season after 11 relief appearances, Fossum took the rotation spot of Dewon Brazelton, who was sent to Triple-A Durham. Brazelton failed to report and was placed on the restricted list.
Tigers starter Jason Johnson gave up three runs -- two earned -- and seven hits in eight innings.
Phelps homered in the second, but the one-out homers by Thames and Infante in the third gave Detroit a 2-1 lead. It was Phelps' first home run since April 9, a span of 26 games and 91 at-bats. The Tigers had not hit consecutive homers since Infante and Bobby Higginson last Sept. 28.
Jorge Cantu hit an RBI double that tied the score with two outs in the fourth. Rodriguez then picked Cantu off second base.
Toby Hall hit a run-scoring single in the seventh to put Tampa Bay ahead 3-2.
"I think we did everything we could to win this game," said Alex Sanchez, who scored on Hall's single. "Everybody played hard."
Tigers SS Carlos Guillen left because of right knee soreness after grounding out for the final out of the ninth and was replaced by Martinez. Guillen is day to day. ... Sanchez returned to Detroit, where he played from May 2003 until he was released during this past spring training. He was 3-for-3 with a walk. ... Umpires Tim and Bill Welke worked for the first time together in their native state of Michigan. Tim was the plate umpire and Bill was at third.