Mandatory Credit: Jesse Johnson-USA TODAY Sports
It didn’t take long for the Detroit Tigers to find their bats in the season opener with the Minnesota Twins. The Tigers beat the Twins 10-6 on the back of a Nick Castellanos two run homer in the second and a seven run third inning in which every Tiger notched a hit(Torii Hunter had two), with the exception of Miguel Cabrera, who accounted for all three outs in the inning(he grounded out in his first at bat and hit into a double play in his second). Cabrera, the last batter for Detroit without a hit in tonight’s contest, had an RBI single in the sixth inning, plating Hunter for the Tigers’ final run of the game.
Rick Porcello started for the Tigers and after giving up a run in the second inning, recovered nicely, putting out nine consecutive Twins batters in the third, fourth and fifth innings. Things fell apart quickly for Porcello in the sixth, though. Brian Dozier led off the inning with a home run, followed by a Joe Mauer single, and a walk to Trevor Plouffe, which was enough to chase Porcello from the game. Justin Miller relieved him, and gave up a single by Chris Colabello to score Mauer followed by an RBI double by Jason Kubel to score the second of Miller’s inherited base runners. He then pitched Josmil Pinto into a shallow popup fielded by Andrew Romine for the first out of the inning, but gave up a deep sacrifice fly to Kurt Suzuki to score Colabello. And with that, Miller’s night was over. Ian Krol was called upon to face Sam Fuld, and struck him out to finally end the inning, with the Tigers’ lead cut in half, but intact. Porcello’s final line was five innings pitched(three batters faced in the sixth without an out recorded), six hits, four runs, one walk and four strike outs.
Ian Krol returned to the mound in the seventh inning and quickly retired the first two batters, but was pulled after Ian Kinsler‘s first error of the season put Mauer on first base and brought righty Plouffe to bat. Evan Reed took the mound for the Tigers and gave up an RBI double to Plouffe before striking out Colabello to end the inning, in which the Tigers’ lead was cut once again. Reed returned to the mound in the eighth inning, gave up a single to Kubel, pitched Pinto into a fielder’s choice to eliminate the lead runner, and then walked Suzuki which was enough for Brad Ausmus to replace him with Joba Chamberlain. Joba did the job tonight, cleaning up Reed’s mess without allowing an inherited runner to score and keeping the score 10-6 heading into the ninth inning.
In a game that was 10-1 entering the bottom of the third inning, Joe Nathan was not expected to be needed to close out the game, but with the bullpen woes continuing, Nathan was on the mound in the ninth with a four run lead, and kept it that way. He allowed a single to Mauer, but closed the game and the win for the Tigers.