DETROIT--Cue the obligatory first-inning runs and homers. Three weeks into the season and it has gotten to the point where the opposing team is almost expected to score a run in the first inning. Closely followed is the reciprocated tying score for the Detroit Tigers but Tuesday night they brought the hit parade with them.
The Tigers evened things up in the bottom of the first inning on a double from Ian Kinsler followed by an RBI double by Miguel Cabrera, knotting the score one-all. Alex Avila tacked on another hit in the second inning but was caught stealing to end the inning.
The third inning was batting practice for the Tigers. Romine led off with a single, followed by Rajai Davis which put runners at the corners. Kinsler then hit a laser of a double to deep left field and two runs scored. Cabrera then stepped to the plate and delivered his first home run since April 4 on the first pitch, smoking it to right field for a two-run homer.
A double by Victor Martinez and a walk by J.D. Martinez put runners at first and third. Nick Castellanos hit a sacrifice fly to right field and Alex Avila had his second hit of the night which again put runners at the corners. But in his second at-bat of the inning, a swinging strikeout for Andrew Romine ended the inning 6-1.
Alex Avila hit an RBI double for his third hit of the night and Rajai Davis connected for his own RBI double to add two more runs to the Tigers already padded lead. They went into the sixth inning leading 8-1.
Justin Verlander gave up a wind-aided home run to Chicago White Sox batter Jose Abreu in the first inning, a high fly to deep center field that was swallowed up by the shrubbery with two out and nobody on. But for the next five innings, the only thing Verlander allowed was a balk in the third inning that advanced Marcus Semien to second base.
Abreu barely beat out a throw by Andrew Romine for a single in the sixth inning, and a single by Dayan Viciedo put runners at the corners. Alexei Ramirez hit an RBI single which brought the Sox within six at 8-2.
After seven innings of nearly lights-out performance, Verlander's night was finished. He allowed eight hits, two earned runs, two walks, one home run and a balk. He struck out seven and threw 119 pitches, 73 of which were for strikes.
Al Alburquerque replaced Verlander and struggled with his command, giving up one run when he allowed a walk and two singles, capped by Alejandro De Aza's sacrifice fly to bring the score 8-3. A groundout-forceout ended the eighth inning.
Phil Coke was on the mound to pitch the ninth, striking out the first two batters who faced him in swinging fashion. But a 1-1 pitch was hit fair by Semien for a double and an RBI single by Paul Konerko cut the Tigers lead to 8-4.
A once-large margin was demolished when Coke gave up a two-run bomb to Adam Dunn and made it an 8-6 save situation for the Tigers. Joba Chamberlain took over for Coke, walking the first batter he faced.
But J.D. Martinez saved the Tigers from further harm when he caught a flyout to left field to end what should have been a much more comfortable win. Verlander picks up his third win of the season and Chamberlain earned his first save.