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The First One is the Sweetest: Tigers 7, Red Sox 2


In my handful of years in sports blogging, there have been a few times when I've joked about a big win (especially one that ends a losing streak) making food taste better, the sun shine brighter, and filling me with enough inspiration to just kiss any woman I encounter on the street. There will hopefully be much bigger and more special wins this season for the Detroit Tigers. But I'm not sure any of them will bring the relief, the great exhale, that tonight's 7-2 win over the Red Sox did. And I don't think you can argue that this one wasn't important.

No more worries about this streak reaching double digits. No more wondering if I have to start doing some research on the 1988 Baltimore Orioles. No more derisive chuckles and e-mails. Even my mother asked me yesterday, "What do you write about the Tigers when they keep losing?" Enough of that stuff.

For the first time in eight games, watching baseball was fun if you're a Tigers fan. This is the team that we all signed on to watch. Big hits, and lots of 'em. Especially in the fourth inning. Edgar Renteria (who went 3-for-4 on the night) drove in two runs with a double, tying the game and making it look like the Tigers were going to put up a fight. And then the next batter, Marcus Thames, swung his big boi bat and gave Detroit what felt like the first lead it's had this season with a two-run homer over the Green Monster. Brandon Inge blew the game open with a single that brought in two more runs. And Carlos Guillen made sure no grand slam would tie this game when he hit a solo home run in the ninth.

Perhaps more impressive, however, was the pitching. Jeremy Bonderman toughed out five innings, giving up only one earned run. And if we're going to dump on the bullpen when it's terrible - and oh, has it been terrible - we have to praise the relievers when they do their job and do it well. Four innings of scoreless baseball. Bobby Seay and Francis Beltran protected a two-run lead in the sixth and seventh innings. Denny Bautista faced the heart of the Red Sox order (though Sean Casey subbed for the injured Mike Lowell) and sent 'em back to the dugout. And Todd Jones... well, he loaded the bases in the ninth, but didn't that bring a sense of normalcy back to the type of Detroit Tigers baseball we've grown accustomed to seeing?

Yes, this now leaves your Detroit Tigers at 1-7 for the season. And every other team in the majors has at least two wins. But as Zack de la Rocha whispered at the end of "Guerilla Radio": It has to start somewhere. It has to start sometime. What better place than here? What better time than now?