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All's well that begins well: Tigers 8, Royals 4

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Final - 4.5.2010 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Detroit Tigers 1 0 0 0 0 1 6 0 0 8 12 1
Kansas City Royals 0 2 0 0 2 0 0 0 0 4 9 1
WP: Joel Zumaya (1 - 0)
LP: Robinson Tejeda (0 - 1)

Complete Coverage


Day One, and all's well!

You don't want to say any game went by the book, but if you had to write up the most likely scenario leading to a Tigers win today, it would go something like this:

Detroit sticks close to the Royals until Zack Greinke leaves the game. Then the Tigers take advantage of the weak Kansas City bullpen and clinch the victory.

Of course you couldn't expect Greinke would go just six innings, nor could you expect Detroit would get as many hits (6) in the seventh inning off the Royals' bullpen before recording a second out as it got total (6) against Greinke during the first 18 outs.

After six innings, KC had a 4-1 lead. Nearly 30 minutes of fun in the top of the seventh later, the Tigers were up 8-4.

Exciting times? Austin Jackson had his first hit that inning, a double to left field that scored fellow rookie Scott Sizemore. What about Sizemore going from first to third base on a single to set Jackson up? (What is he, a Twin? Are other teams allowed to do it, too?) Then we also have Johnny Damon, who doubled to right field a batte later for the 5-4 lead.

The middle of the Tigers' lineup did what it will be asked to do frequently throughout the year: Carried the day. Damon, Magglio Ordonez, Miguel Cabrera and Carlos Guillen all had two hits and accounted for five of the runs and four of the RBIs.

There were a few defensive gems, too, of course. Shortstop Adam Everett saved a run with a nice dive behind second base. Jackson recorded his first major league assist by throwing out Jason Kendall at home during a tense moment of the seventh inning. Jackson said in the post game he was prouder of that than his first hit.

And Justin Verlander, of course, was a strikeout machine, recording six in five innings. You hope he'll settle in and go deeper in future starts, but it wasn't an awful start. Joel Zumaya got the win after taking just seven pitches to get through the sixth inning.

All-in-all, a great way to start the year. The last time the Tigers won on opening day was 2006.

Just sayin'.

What a great way to open the year!

Comment of the Night:

We had more than 1,800 comments in the game threads today. Picking a winner wasn't easy. But Dale S says it perfect:

If the KC relief pitchers have a Facebook page

I am totally friending them

Site note

I'm going to include links to the FanGraphs.com box scores in that little grey box score at the top of recaps. Through those you can see the win probability graphs and vote for players of the game -- it's just like hockey, kinda ... except three stars in better in this case.