Monday, April 1, 2013
Tigers Win 4-2 to get Justin Verlander's First Opening Day Victory
Justin Verlander finally won an opening day start! The Detroit Tigers beat the Minnesota Twins today 4-2.
The Tigers led off the season with a bang. Austin Jackson had a single to start the game, then Torii Hunter hit a single which advanced Austin Jackson to third, so Miguel Cabrera came up with runners on 1st and 3rd, and grounded into a fielder's choice to drive in Jackson. Prince Fielder came up next and after Cabrera advanced to 2nd base on a wild pitch, Fielder drove him in with a double and the Tigers had a quick 2-0 lead.
Detroit came right back in the 2nd inning after Jhonny Peralta hit a single, then stole 2nd base, and would score on an Omar Infante single and the Tigers took a 3-0 lead.
Justin Verlander didn't have his best stuff today, but he was good enough to throw 5 shutout innings (because Leyland pulled him after 91 pitches) on 3 hits, walking 2 and striking out 7 batters; he earned his first win of the season and his first career opening day win.
Drew Smyly came in for relief and was, well, not good. He allowed 1 run in the 6th inning. Smyly came back out for the 7th inning and promptly loaded the bases and only got 1 out before being pulled. Al Alburquerque came in to replace him and allowed 1 of Smyly's base runners to score, but got the final 2 outs of the inning to keep a Tigers lead at 3-2.
The Tigers put together a rally in the 8th inning after a single by Prince Fielder, and walks to Victor Martinez and Jhonny Peralta, Fielder scored on a wild pitch to give the Tigers a 4-2 lead.
Joaquin Benoit came in and pitched a scoreless 8th inning.
The answer everyone wanted to know was who will Jim Leyland use to close? Well, Benoit came back out for the 9th inning to get the first out of the inning, then Phil Coke got the final 2 outs to get the Tigers an opening day win; it's Coke's first save of the season.
The Tigers have an off day (already) tomorrow, but play Wednesday as Anibal Sanchez makes his first start of the season against Kevin Correia.
Picture credit: zimbio.com
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