Detroit Tigers Down Marlins 7-3 In Opening Series Finale

Feb 21, 2016; Lakeland, FL, USA; Detroit Tigers starting pitcher Mike Pelfrey (37) and catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia (39) talk after throwing in the bullpen at Joker Marchant Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
Feb 21, 2016; Lakeland, FL, USA; Detroit Tigers starting pitcher Mike Pelfrey (37) and catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia (39) talk after throwing in the bullpen at Joker Marchant Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports /

Detroit Tigers fans witnessed something on Wednesday night that was a rarity. In fact, the Tigers were able to do something no team has ever done on Wednesday, beat Miami ace Jose Fernandez at home. Detroit won the game 7-3.

Detroit Tigers games have so far ended in wins. So far so good. After a shaky start to the season on Tuesday night, the Tigers went back at it again Wednesday evening. The team closed out the season’s opening Interleague series with the Miami Marlins by winning 7-3.

It wasn’t as easy as most would expect when playing the Marlins at Marlins Park, where their starting pitcher Jose Fernandez had never recorded a loss until Wednesday.

Before the Tigers came to town, Fernandez had won all seventeen decisions in his career at home, a modern era first. If it hadn’t been for getting next to no run support, he could of easily escaped with the win as he struck out thirteen Tigers hitters in just over five innings.

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Striking out the side to begin the game, Fernandez’s only error early came when former teammate Jarrod Saltalamacchia crushed a 2-run home run to right after a JD Martinez walk in the 2nd inning. After the home run, he struck out eight of the next 10 batters.

In the sixth inning things began to fall apart a bit for the Marlins ace. After allowing two singles while striking out two more, Nick Castellanos doubled to score the Tigers 3rd run of the night, and that was the last batter Fernandez faced.

He was relieved by Dustin McGowen, who promptly gave up a 2-run double to Saltalamacchia to make the score 5-0 Tigers. Fernandez was charged with the runs, making it only the second time ever he had allowed five runs or more at home.

Anibal Sanchez did everything asked of him tonight for Detroit. Under two weeks ago, the Tigers weren’t even sure if he’d be able to make the start, let alone go through the first 5 innings without allowing a run. When he came back out for the sixth inning, he walked the first two batters and Manager Brad Ausmus had seen enough.

Sanchez was pulled for Drew VerHegan, who allowed both of the runners he acquired from Sanchez to score. However those were the only two runs that crossed home plate that inning, and the Tigers got out of the inning with minimal damage and a comfortable 5-2 lead.

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Former Tiger and current pursuer-of-playing-for-every-single-Major-League-team Edwin Jackson came in and shut down the seventh for Miami, before he was taken out for Chris Narvenson to begin the 8th. After an Ian Kinsler single, MLB’s hottest hitter Victor Martinez came to the plate and made history for the Tigers.

Since Detroit is playing in Miami and there is no Designated Hitter spot in the National League, Martinez came in to pinch-hit for the pitchers spot in the order, and blasted his 2nd home run of the year to make the score 7-2. It had been since 2004 Victor Martinez had a pinch hit home run before last night, and now hes done it back-to-back games to open the season. He also became the first player since 1914 to have a pinch hit home run in the first two games of the season.

In typical Tigers fashion, the 9th inning got a bit interesting when Logan Kensing came in for the non-save opportunity. He allowed three of four batters to reach base and allowed a run to make the score 7-3. After recording the second out and leaving two runners on base, Manager Brad removed Kensing for Francisco Rodriguez, most likely causing Detroit fans’ hearts to skip a beat or two since Rodriguez blew his first save in his first opportunity as a Tiger last night.

“K-Rod” may have to be re-named “BB-Rod”, due to his unfortunate habit of walking batters so far this season. He walked the first batter he faced loading the bases for possibly the National Leagues most dangerous hitter, Giancarlo Stanton. 

Stanton hit his first home run of the season last night, and narrowly missed hitting his second of the year when he barely got under a 1-0 “fastball” from the Tigers new closer. Fortunately the ball landed in foul territory, and Rodriguez was eventually able to strike out Stanton to end the game.

Next: The Bullpen is Fine

The Tigers get tomorrow off as they finally head back to Detroit, where they will have their home opener on Friday Afternoon at Comerica Park. Top offseason prize Jordan Zimmermann makes his Tiger debut as they face off against the New York Yankees and 22 year old Luis Severino. The game kicks off at 1:10 PM, however rain and cold temperatures are in the forecast.