Detroit Tigers just keep hitting to end 5-game skid with 9-7 win over Chicago White Sox

Tigers shortstop Niko Goodrum fields a ground ball hit by the Chicago White Sox’s Yoan Moncada for an out in the first inning in Detroit on Thursday. (AP photo)

DETROIT — Ron Gardenhire called a team meeting Thursday morning and gave his Detroit Tigers a simple message.

“Have some fun,” the manager told them. “When you get into a losing streak, it gets hard to do that, but you aren’t going to play good baseball if you aren’t enjoying yourself.”

The message worked as the Tigers ended a five-game losing streak with a 9-7 win over the Chicago White Sox. Detroit set season highs for hits (14) and runs.

“It was great, because he reminded us that this is a 162-game season,” third baseman Jeimer Candelario said. “If you aren’t having fun, it is going to turn into a really long year.”

Nicholas Castellanos and Miguel Cabrera, playing on his 36th birthday, combined for five hits and four RBIs.

The Chicago White Sox's Yonder Alonso, left, beats the throw to Tigers pitcher Tyson Ross, covering first base in the sixth inning in Detroit on Thursday. Niko Goodrum was charged with an error on the play. (AP photo)

“When those two guys get going, it can really boost the offense,” Gardenhire said. “We need everyone to help out, but Nick and Miggy are the key to everything.

Grayson Greiner had a career-high three hits and two RBIs for the Tigers.

With the score tied at 7, Greiner led off the eighth with a single and moved up when Carson Fulmer (0-1) hit both JaCoby Jones and Josh Harrison with pitches.

Castellanos and Cabrera put the Tigers ahead with back-to-back sacrifice flies.

“He got into a little trouble, tried to get us out of it and it didn’t work out,” White Sox manager Rick Renteria said. “They started out with a bloop hit, and then the next two guys were trying to bunt and he lost his command a little bit.”

Drew VerHagen (1-0) picked up the win after recording the last out of the eighth inning. Shane Greene pitched the ninth for his ninth save in nine attempts.

Neither starter was involved in the decision. Detroit’s Tyson Ross pitched six-plus innings, allowing five runs — two earned — on seven hits. Ivan Nova gave up six runs on 11 hits in 6 1/3 innings.

The Tigers trailed 5-4 going into the bottom of the seventh, but Castellanos ended Nova’s day with a game-tying double with one out, and Cabrera greeted Kelvin Herrera with an RBI single.