Polanco, acquired from Philadelphia earlier on June 8, homered with one out in the bottom of the 10th inning and gave Detroit a 10-8 win over the San Francisco Giants on Sunday.
"A high fastball inside," Polanco said of the pitch he hit over the left-center field fence off of Scott Eyre. "Just trying to get a fastball."
Polanco's home run came an inning after Chris Shelton hit tying two-run shot.
After Omar Infante flied out to start the 10th, Brandon Inge singled to center field off Eyre (1-1). Polanco then followed with his first home run for Detroit.
"He's a pretty good hitter," San Francisco manager Felipe Alou said. "He got a hittable pitch that he hit out."
Since joining the Tigers, Polanco is hitting .378 with a home run and seven RBIs. He's also played well defensively at second base.
"The first thing that comes to my mind with Polanco is that this guy is a good ballplayer," said Tigers' manager Alan Trammell.
Jamie Walker (3-3) pitched a scoreless inning for the win.
Linden's three-run homer in the top of the ninth off Troy Percival gave the Giants an 8-5 lead. However, Detroit tied it against Tyler Walker in the bottom half on Craig Monroe's sacrifice fly and Shelton's homer.
"I didn't execute my pitches, that's the bottom line," Walker said.
Giants starter Jesse Foppert lasted just 3 1-3 innings. He allowed four runs on four hits, walked six and struck out three.
Pitching on three days' rest, Tigers starter Mike Maroth gave up four runs and seven hits in five innings. He walked three and struck out one.
San Francisco took a 2-0 lead in the second on Adam Shabala's first major league hit, a bases-loaded single.
White led off the bottom of the inning with his eighth home run to make it 2-1. Detroit then loaded the bases with one out in the inning, but Infante was called out on strikes and Inge flied to center to end the inning.
Detroit tied it at 2 in the third on Monroe's bases-loaded sacrifice fly.
The Tigers scored two in the fourth to chase Foppert, who was replaced by Jeff Fassero. Dmitri Young greeted him with a run-scoring double and Fassero's wild pitch brought in the second run of the inning.
Niekro's two-run homer in the fifth tied the game at 4. It also scored Deivi Cruz, who led off with a single.
Cruz's two out single in the eighth put San Francisco up 5-4, but Infante's triple in the bottom of the inning tied it at 5.
"Lead changes, tie ballgame, home runs," said Inge. "That was just scratch and claw your way to a victory right there."
- Niekro returned to the lineup after missing five days with an injured big toe. His father, Joe Niekro, pitched for the Tigers from 1970-72.
- Linden's home run was the first of his career from the left side of the plate.