Alex Avila took a lot of flak from fans and media after a bad opening day at Yankee Stadium. His performance against Baltimore on Wednesday probably earned him another start on Thursday.
Avila went 4-for-5 and drove in five runs, including a two-run home run in the fourth inning that turned out to be the winning runs in a 7-3 Tigers win.
Justin Verlander was sharp in his second start of the season, pitching eight solid innings while giving up three runs on four hits. Verlander (1-0) struck out nine batters on the night.
Miguel Cabrera belted the 250th home run of his career and Victor Martinez went 3-for-5 and a solo shot of his own for the Tigers, who improved to 2-3 on the young season. Baltimore dropped its first game of the year after starting 4-0.
Avila got the Tigers on the board in the second, hitting a two-run double that drove in Brennan Boesch and Jhonny Peralta for a 2-0 lead. Boesch reached on an error by Orioles second baseman Brian Roberts, then advanced to third when Brad Bergesen (0-1) threw the ball into center field on a pick-off attempt.
After Avila homered in the top of the fourth, the Orioles sliced the lead in half on Derek Lee’s two-run homer in the bottom half of the inning.
Detroit restored the four-run gap quickly, as Martinez and Cabrers swatted back-to-back homers in the top of the fifth to make it 6-2. Avila got his last RBI in the top of the eighth, following up Ryan Raburn’s ground-rule double with an RBI single.