"This is something I've worked my whole life for and I definitely don't want it to be the last," said Carpenter, who made four starts earlier this season but had been out since May 31 with a strained right oblique. "I spent almost two months down in Florida rehabbing. It's kind of a long, hard process but I always told myself I'd get through it and I'd come back up here and get my first win."
The Twins had Carpenter (1-1) on the ropes early, as their first three batters reached base. But he wiggled out of trouble.
"He changed speeds and moved it around," Tigers manager Ron Gardenhire said. "I thought they were going to be on him a little bit and he made some adjustments."
Mauer led off the game with a home run, Eddie Rosario followed with a single, and Jorge Polanco's double put runners on second and third with nobody out. But Carpenter fanned Sano, got Logan Forsythe on a lineout to third, and retired Max Kepler on fly ball to get out of the inning.
Austin hit a solo shot in the second inning and Sano followed suit in the third, but that was all the Twins could manage off Carpenter, who walked none and struck out three in 5 1/3 innings. Four relievers combined to close it out, with Shane Greene picking up the last four outs for his 26th save in 29 chances.
Mahtook's homer was his second of the year and came off reliever Tyler Duffey (1-2). Niko Goodrum was hit by a pitch leading off the fifth and Victor Martinez hit a grounder to first base. Mauer threw to second for the force and Goodrum initially was called out. But the call was overturned by a video review, and Mahtook followed with a no-doubt line drive deep into the left-field seats.
Twins starter Kohl Stewart, the fourth pick in the 2013 draft, made his first appearance at Target Field after debuting Aug. 12 in Detroit. He walked four in just 2 2/3 innings and the Tigers chased him with a three-run third inning.
He was a pitch away from getting out of the inning unscathed, but with the bases loaded and two outs he hit Mahtook with a 1-2 fastball to score the Tigers' first run. Ronny Rodriguez followed with a two-run double and Stewart's night was done.
"It's just frustrating, you know? I had Mahtook 0-2 there, and could have gotten out of that inning -- as bad as it was -- if I execute that one pitch," Stewart said. "That's the kind of (stuff) that keeps you up at night."
TWINS HONOR MORRIS
The Twins officially honored Jack Morris for his induction to the National Baseball Hall of Fame in a pregame ceremony on Saturday. A video replay of Morris' speech at last month's induction ceremony in Cooperstown, New York was shown on the scoreboard before Morris addressed the crowd.
The St. Paul, Minnesota native only pitched one season for the Twins, but it was a memorable one. In 1991 he won 18 games to lead the Twins to the postseason, then threw 10 scoreless innings in Game 7 of the World Series. Morris was joined at the podium by two other hometown Hall of Famers, Twins manager Paul Molitor and outfielder Dave Winfield, each of whom got his 3,000th career hit in a Twins uniform.
Molitor said it was "fairly likely" that Stewart would start his next turn in the rotation, which would be Thursday against the Athletics.
Tigers: RHP Jacob Turner (0-1, 45.00 ERA) will be recalled from Triple-A Toledo to start Sunday's series finale against the Twins. Turner, playing for his fifth team in his seven-year career, made one start for Detroit this season. He lasted just one inning and allowed five earned runs against the Angels on Aug. 7. To make room for Turner on the roster, RHP Zach McAllister was designated for assignment.
Twins: RHP Jake Odorizzi (5-7, 4.44) will face the Tigers on Sunday. In his last start, Odorizzi picked up his first win in five weeks by pitching into the sixth inning and striking out nine in a 5-2 win over the Pirates.
Tigers manager Ron Gardenhire said Michael Fulmer will get a second opinion after an MRI showed possible damage to the meniscus in the right-hander's knee, which he injured trying to field a bunt.
Cardinals infielder Kolten Wong is disappointed that his younger brother, Kean, didn't get called up by the Rays this season, calling Tampa Bay a "bad organization which doesn't give chances to guys who deserve chances."
Joe Maddon took issue with Willson Contreras standing at home admiring a blast that ended up hitting the wall.
The Cubs have played some of their best baseball here in crunch time, a stretch that has taken a big bite out of the Diamondbacks' playoff chances.
The Atlanta Braves and St. Louis Cardinals will open with their surprise 2018 aces as they begin an important three-game series for both teams on Monday night.
There will be no need for scoreboard watching when the National League West leaders meet Monday at Dodger Stadium, at least not the out-of-town scoreboard anyway.