MINNEAPOLIS -- The Twin Cities are always going to hold a special place in Torii Hunter's heart. The Motor City is starting to form a place there.
When Hunter stepped to the plate with the tying run on third base during Saturday's ninth-inning comeback over the White Sox, with a sellout crowd at Comerica Park chanting his name, he admits that it got to him.
He knew that Detroit had a contending team and a good fan base, but he admits that the way Tigers fans and teammates have received him has touched him.
"This is probably one of my favorite years," Hunter said after Sunday's home finale. "I think I haven't had this much fun in 10 years, in this clubhouse. I've always played well at Comerica Park, but just the love you feel playing here, it's unbelievable. I never knew that, and I got a whiff of it this year."
Hunter is under contract with Detroit for next season, during which he'll celebrate his 39th birthday. His 2013 campaign has been a series of hot stretches and slumps, but his home splits are hard to pick apart. He hit .333 at Comerica Park this year with 20 doubles, three triples, eight home runs, 46 RBIs and an .861 OPS.
No American League hitter has more base hits in his home park this year. Only Hunter's teammate, Miguel Cabrera, posted a better average at home among qualifying AL hitters.
Just three other Tigers have posted 100 hits at Comerica Park in a season since it opened in 2000. Cabrera did it in 2009 and 2011; Magglio Ordonez and Placido Polanco had 110 and 105 hits there, respectively, in 2007.