Nine Innings Not Enough For Tigers Opening Day Win
The last two teams to start their season took 11 innings to finish the game, but in the end the Tigers prevailed to spoil Miami's first home game by a score of 8-7.
The game got off to a fast start for Detroit. Coming off of a top five finish in the Grapefruit League, the Tigers continued their good form through the first five innings. Miguel Cabrera picked up his first RBI of the season in the first inning and Ian Kinsler hit the first Tiger home run of 2016 in the second, a three run shot to left, to make it 4-0 very quickly.
Tigers starter Justin Verlander didn't surrender a hit until the 6th inning when second baseman Dee Gordon doubled to right field and a fielding error charged to JD Martinez allowed Gordon to advance to third. Gordon would score on a Marcell Ozuna single the next at-bat and Giancarlo Stanton would hit a two run home run a couple of batters later to quickly get the game back in range for Miami.
A newly rebuilt bullpen looked to secure the win for Verlander, however facing a 5-3 deficit in the bottom of the 8th, Miami would score Dee Gordon after he hit a leadoff triple through a sacrifice fly from Christian Yelich.
The Tigers added some security runs in the top of the 9th through back to back home runs from Anthony Gose and pinch hitting Victor Martinez.
Those security runs would only secure extra innings however as the Marlins would rally off of newly acquired closer Francisco Rodriguez. A sacrifice fly and back to back doubles would score the runs that Miami needed to force extra innings.
The Tigers threatened in the 10th, loading up the bases with great discipline from JD Martinez, Andrew Romine and Jose Iglesias all drawing walks. Their inning would end prematurely though as a fortunate bounce off the backstop caught Jose Iglesias in a rundown between first and second to record the third out of the inning.
The Tigers played small ball to get the eventual winning run. After an Anthony Gose walk, a sacrifice bunt from Mike Aviles and a single from Ian Kinsler (his 4th RBI of the night) the Tigers found themselves up for the final time.
Current fifth starter Shane Greene came in for a 1-2-3 11th inning, recording a save in first ever save chance of his young MLB career.
The Tigers play the Marlins again on Wednesday in Miami to finish off their opening two game series before coming home for Comerica Park's opening day in Detroit, where they'll host the Yankees on Friday.