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Tigers Take Advantage of Tribe Miscue, Win Home Opener

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Cleveland 2, Detroit 5 (box)

Sooner or later, the Detroit Tigers are going to have to find a way to score some runs against a starting pitcher. After being held down by three Kansas City starters in the season’s first three games, Cleveland left hander David Huff kept the Tigers in check for most of his outing at Comerica Park today.

Huff (0-1) allowed a two-out single to Magglio Ordonez in the first, then sat down ten of the next eleven he faced entering the fifth. With a runner on and one out, rookie second baseman Scott Sizemore connected with a Huff change up and stroked a line drive single to center, it was his first big league hit. Huff found himself in a deep hole when the next batter, Adam Everett, also singled, loading the bases with one out. The Tigers scraped home a run on an infield hit by Austin Jackson, keeping the bases loaded.

But after Huff got Johnny Damon on a pop-up, he looked to escape the inning with the lead intact. Ordonez ripped a hard smash to third, but Jhonny Perlta was there. Peralta bobbled the grounder, then rushed the throw, sailing it past first baseman Andy Marte. When the dust had settled, Ordonez was standing at second and all three runners had scored, giving the Tigers a 4-2 lead.

For the Tigers, Rick Porcello (1-0) was pretty good in his 5+ innings of work. He gave up a solo homer to Travis Hafner, then an RBI double to Mike Redmond, which followed a two-out walk to Marte.

The Tigers bullpen did the rest, as they have done so well this year. Phil Coke relieved Porcello after a lead-off single in the sixth and kept the Indians off the board. After Coke walked the first two batters of the seventh, Joel Zumaya stranded both of those runners on a fly ball and a double play grounder. Tigers relievers have not allowed an inherited runner to score this season.

Jose Valverde worked a scoreless ninth for his first save as a Tiger. Valverde has appeared in all four games this season.

Cheers and Jeers after the jump.

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Cheers for

  • Magglio Ordonez– Maggs continues to tear the cover off the ball. He added an RBI double to deep right center to his first inning single. He and Brandon Inge were the only two Tigers with two hits today.
  • Austin Jackson– Jackson reached base twice with a walk and an infield hit and stole his first base as a Tiger. He drove in a run and scored twice.
  • Joel Zumaya– Zumaya stepped into a sticky situation when he entered the game, but worked out of it nicely. Staying in for the eighth, Zoom allowed a one-out triple to Grady Sizemore, but kept him at third with a key strikeout of Shin-Soo Choo and a pop-up by Hafner.

Jeers for

  • Johnny Damon– Damon has two RBI this season, but has done nothing since the opener on Monday. Another o for 4 day has dropped his average to .111 on the early year, which is still better than…
  • Gerald Laird– Laird has yet to find a hit so far, though he did hit a couple of balls hard in Kansas City. He’s even resorted to bunting already.
  • Jhonny Peralta– His error in the fifth effectively cost the Indians the game. His 0 for 3 at the plate didn’t help, either. Plus he spells his name wrong.

What’s on tap?

The Tigers will look to wrap up their second straight series win tomorrow afternoon behind right hander Jeremy Bonderman. It will be interesting to see if all the time off has helped Bondo put his first inning struggles behind him. Bonderman made just one start all of last year and hasn’t started a game versus Cleveland since 2007. He is 7-9 career against the Tribe in 20 career starts.

Cleveland will counter with right hander Mitch Talbot, a newcomer to the big leagues. Talbot made one relief appearance versus Detroit while with the Rays in 2008. In that game, the Tigers tagged him for five runs on five hits and five walks in just 2.1 innings of work. He spent all of last season pitching in the minors.