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The bats are out in full force for Detroit hitters to kick off the 2012 season, and the Tigers out-slugged an equally-potent Boston squad 13-12 in extra innings on Sunday to complete a three-game sweep.
The afternoon's two starting pitchers, Detroit's Max Scherzer and Boston's Clay Buchholz, combined to pitch just 6.2 innings, surrendering 16 hits with four combined walks. Scherzer's five-run implosion in the third signaled the end to his day, while Buchholz was scored upon in three of the four innings where he saw the mound, and never found a rhythm.
Things looked quite bleak down the stretch for the Tigers, who trailed 10-7 heading into the final inning, before a Miguel Cabrera three-run bomb in the bottom of the ninth tied the game at ten apiece and brought an Easter Sunday crowd of well over 30,000 fans to their feet. Cabrera, who now has three home runs and eight RBI on the season, looks to be the most feared hitter in baseball at the moment, and is clearly benefiting from the added protection of Prince Fielder in the lineup.
After a pair of scoreless extra innings from both sides, former Minnesota Twins utility man Nick Punto slapped a single to left center in the 11th to score Cody Ross and give the Red Sox a one-run advantage that quickly grew to two. But instead of lying down in the bottom half of the inning with two outs, catcher Alex Avila, who played the entire day behind the plate, sent a Mark Melancon fastball *narrowly* over the wall in right field to give Detroit a two-run homer and a miraculous 13-12 walkoff win.
The two clubs combined for 25 runs on 35 hits during the day, in a game that lasted nearly five hours and tested the mettle of both bullpens. The Tigers (3-0) will take on AL East representative Tampa Bay in a three-game home series that opens on Tuesday.
The Detroit Tigers opened up Sunday's game with the Boston Red Sox right where they left off on Saturday with yet another offensive flurry in the first inning. Unfortunately, starting pitcher Max Scherzer couldn't find the strike zone to save his life, and immediately squandered the Tigers' early 4-0 lead over the next two innings.
Scherzer gave up eight hits and seven runs while throwing 80 pitches over just 2.2 innings, and left the game with Boston ahead 7-5 on the scoreboard. Scherzer's ERA on the season now sits at an inordinately-high 23.63.
In another sign that it clearly wasn't his afternoon, Scherzer was called for a balk in the third inning by the home plate umpire with two outs to give Boston a free 6-5 advantage. Despite being a very vague motion on the mound that potentially would not have prompted the same call in similar situations, Scherzer's ill-timed balk proved to be the final dagger for his day.
The Red Sox and Tigers are both clearly locked in at the plate, and look poised to continue this offensive surge. Stay with SB Nation Detroit's StoryStream for continuous updates throughout the game.
Detroit Tigers first baseman Prince Fielder singled in the first inning on Sunday against Boston pitcher Clay Buchholz to pick up the 1,000th hit of his major league career. Fielder's hit quickly proved to be a sign of things to come in the inning for Tigers hitters, as Detroit used a Jhonny Peralta base-clearing double to plate three runs and take an early 4-0 advantage.
Fielder has now recorded four hits, with two home runs, in seven at bats for the Tigers to open the season. Lead off hitter Austin Jackson, often criticized for his free-swinging nature at the plate, doubled to open the game, proceeded to steal third base, and then eventually crossed the plate on a Miguel Cabrera single. Jackson is batting .556 on the year and could be primed for a breakout season if he can stay active on the basepaths.
Things have gone well for the Tigers in their first two games against Boston. Justin Verlander, Austin Jackson and Prince Fielder helped put together Thursday's close win in the opener, and Saturday saw the team combine for five home runs in a 10-0 drubbing of the Sox. They look to repeat yesterdays performance today, and if they can manage to do so it would be the Tigers' first 3-0 start since 2006, the last season they made the World Series. Their home run performance yesterday was the most home runs hit by Detroit at Comerica since 2004, when they teed off against the Red Sox for seven homers.
Boston will be relying on Clay Buchholz for the first time since June of last year, when he went down with an injury to the lower back. Detroit will send Max Scherzer to the mound, who has historically struggled against Boston. He's 0-2 in his first three appearances against the Sox, with a 9.45 ERA. The first pitch is scheduled for 1:05 p.m.
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The Detroit Tigers put up a dominant performance on Saturday, besting the Boston Red Sox by a score of 10-0. Miguel Cabrera and Prince Fielder put on a clinic, with two homeruns apiece, while Alex Avila added a homerun of his own. Josh Beckett was shelled for five home runs total, giving up a total of seven hits and seven earned runs through 4.2 innings - finishing with a 13.50 ERA. He was given the loss, though Scott Atchison and Matt Albers also gave up an earned run each.
Cabrera hit a two-run homer in the first that scored Austin Jackson, and then Fielder and Avila both homered in the fourth inning to make it 4-0. Beckett was allowed to give up another two homeruns - to Cabrera and Fielder in the fifth before he was pulled. Kind of odd that he was kept in to face Cabrera and Fielder, but that's the direction they went.
Doug Fister left the game in the top of the fourth inning with a strain on his left side. As such, Duane Below gets the win for the Tigers. They move to 2-0 on the season and have another matchup with Boston on Sunday to close out the opening series. That game is set for 1:05 p.m. ET.
With the Tigers leading the Red Sox 2-0 with two outs in the top of the fourth inning, Doug Fister came up holding his left side after throwing a ball to Ryan Sweeney. Fister's next pitch was similarly off-target and also signaled Jim Leyland and trainer Kevin Rand, who hustled to the mound to check on Fister.
After a fairly lengthy talk, Fister was removed from the game in favor of Duane Below. FOX announced the injury as being a left side strain, but no other details were immediately available.
Fister was removed from a start during Spring Training with finger soreness, but he never missed any subsequent starts. A left side strain is a different animal, as it's something that could linger and cause further problems.
For what it's worth, Fister did not seem like he wanted to come out of the game, but Rand was doing most of the talking and ultimately Fister exited the game. Hopefully, Leyland and Rand were simply erring on the side of caution rather than allowing the injury to deteriorate over the course of the game.
Fister made it through 3.2 innings, gave up three hits, walked one and struck out three before leaving with the injury. Unfortunately, he won't be in line for a win.
With Doug Fister on the mound, Jim Leyland will not mix up the lineup too much in Game 2. Ramon Santiago will get the hook and Ryan Raburn will move from DH to second base. Andy Dirks will see his first action of the season at DH.
Jackson cf, Boesch rf, Cabrera 3b, Fielder 1b, Young lf, Avila c, Peralta ss, Dirks dh, Raburn 2b, Fister p vs. Boston at 4:10 on Ch. 2 FOX.— Freep Tigers (@freeptigers) April 7, 2012
Red Sox lineup:
Ellsbury cf, Pedroia 2b, Gonzalez 1b, Ortiz dh, Youkilis 3b, Sweeney rf, Ross lf, Saltalamacchia c, Aviles ss, Beckett p.— Freep Tigers (@freeptigers) April 7, 2012
First pitch is slated for 4:05 p.m.
Tiger try for two wins in a row to start the season for the first time since 2006.
After Jose Valverde blew his first save since Sept. 2, 2010, the Detroit Tigers rallied in the bottom of the ninth and Austin Jackson hit a walk-off single with the bases loaded for a 3-2 victory over the Boston Red Sox on Opening Day.
Justin Verlander surrendered just two hits over eight scoreless innings, but Valverde was tagged for two runs in the top of the ninth inning. First, David Ortiz hit a sacrifice fly to score Dustin Pedroia, then Ryan Sweeney tied the game with a triple.
The Tigers broke a 0-0 tie in the seventh inning when Alex Avila doubled home Jhonny Peralta off of Red Sox starter Jon Lester. Lester pitched seven innings, allowing six hits and one run. Prince Fielder added another run with a sacrifice fly in the eighth inning.
Mark Melancon was tagged with the loss for Boston, after giving up two hits in the bottom of the ninth. Red Sox closer Alfredo Aceves came in to try to clean up Melancon's mess, but, after hitting Ramon Santiago, Jackson singled down the third base line to win the game for the Tigers.
With the well-traveled Red Sox in town for a sunny season opener, fans from all around the state of Michigan converged on Comerica Park for nine innings of baseball on Thursday afternoon.
The attendance, officially announced as 45,027, represented the single highest turnout for an Opening Day game at Comerica Park, and the second most in the history of Detroit Tigers baseball.
Clearly the signing of Prince Fielder and the outstanding finish to cap off 2011 had a little something to do with this, but confidence in Motown is extremely high heading into the year for baseball fans of all ages. And on a day where you could barely see a cloud in the sky, fans were treated to an ideal scenario to head down to the ballpark.
The 2012 Major League Baseball season is underway in Motown, and a pair of World Series contenders, the Detroit Tigers and Boston Red Sox, are each battling it out in search of starting the year off in the win column. After two and a half innings, the two teams have been unable to send a man across the plate, and are tied 0-0.
In his first career at bat with the Tigers in the second inning, All-Star first baseman Prince Fielder gave fans a nice sign of things to come as he singled to right field against Red Sox pitcher Jon Lester. Fielder's hit was met with heavy applause from the elated fans lining the seats of Comerica Park.
On the hill for the Tigers, 2011 MVP winner Justin Verlander has been as filthy as expected with three strikeouts and only one hit allowed after three innings.
The Detroit Tigers have announced their Opening Day lineup:
#OpeningDay lineup vs BOS: Jackson CF, Boesch RF, Cabrera 3B, Fielder 1B, Young LF, Raburn DH, Peralta SS, Avila C, Santiago 2B, Verlander P— Detroit Tigers (@tigers) April 5, 2012
Translated into non-Twitter language, that reads:
Jackson, Austin CF
Boesch, Brennan RF
Cabrera, Miguel 3B
Fielder, Prince 1B
Young, Delmon LF
Raburn, Ryan DH
Peralta, Jhonny SS
Avila, Alex C
Santiago, Ramon 2B
Verlander, Justin P
This lineup is just about what people expected. While Miguel Cabrera and Prince Fielder have a proven track record, the top of the order remains something of a question mark. Jackson burst onto the scene as a rookie in 2010, hitting .293 with a .345 on-base percentage. Last season he regressed to .249/.317. With Cabrera and Fielder behind him, Jackson will be in prime position to score runs ... if he can get on base.
When the Detroit Tigers open their 2012 season on Thursday, a familiar face will greet them with the ceremonial first pitch. Tigers great Al Kaline will throw out the first pitch prior to the Tigers' game against the Red Sox.
Kaline played first base and outfield for the Tigers from 1953 to 1974. During his 22 seasons with the Tigers, the only major league team he ever played for, Kaline made the All-Star team 15 times. He was voted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1980.
Prior the game, the Tigers will also hoist the American League Central Division championship flag. American Idol finalist Haley Reinhart will sing the national anthem, followed by a military flyover from Selfridge Air National Guard base.
The game starts at 1:05 p.m. Gates open at 10:30 a.m.
The Detroit Tigers already made the obvious announcement ("made it formal," as it were) that Justin Verlander will be the starting pitcher on opening day against the Boston Red Sox. It didn't take much longer for the Red Sox to make an announcement of their own, as CBS Sports' Scott Miller reported on Monday that the Sox will be starting Jon Lester in their first game.
Bobby V wasting no time:
#RedSox have named Jon Lester as opening day starter.
A two-time All Star, Lester won 15 games with the Sox in 2011 with a 3.47 ERA in 31 starts. He pitched just under 200 innings last year after going over 200 three years in a row.
The Sox and Tigers are slated to open their seasons at Comerica Park in Detroit on April 5. First pitch is scheduled for 1:05 p.m. ET, and we now know what the pitching duel is going to be on that date.