For the first time in seven seasons, there was a different starting pitcher on the mound for Opening Day. David Price tossed 101 pitches in 8 2/3 innings of five-hit ball, while the Tigers' lineup gave him strong support in a 4-0 win thanks to two massive home runs by the Tigers offense.
Price was perfect through four innings, and he retired 13 consecutive batters before yielding a single to Kennys Vargas in the fifth inning. He gave up back-to-back singles to start the sixth inning, but a strikeout of Danny Santana and the first 6-4-3 double play of the season ended the minimal threat. Unable to escape the ninth inning unscathed, Price gave way to Joe Nathan, who struck out Torii Hunter to secure his first save of the year.
A one-out single by Ian Kinsler in the first inning gave the Tigers their first hit of the season. But J.D. Martinez had the honor of both the Tigers' and MLB's first home run of the season, when he hit a solo shot to lead off the second inning that bounced off the top of the right-center field wall. Yoenis Cespedes followed with a double, and Alex Avila smoked an opposite field two-run shot over the left field wall for a home run, giving the Tigers a 3-0 lead.
In the sixth inning, Cespedes tripled with one out, then immediately scored after a sacrifice fly by Nick Castellanos, giving the Tigers a 4-0 lead over the Twins. Jose Iglesias, who had two singles -- one in the second and another in the seventh -- had two of the Tigers' three stolen bases. He also reached on a force during the fourth inning. Rajai Davis accounted for the other stolen base.
David Price: Threw an absolutely brilliant game to start the season and nearly finished with a Maddux (a complete game with 100-or-fewer pitches thrown).
J.D. Martinez: Hit a leadoff home run in the second inning, giving the Tigers a 1-0 lead.
Alex Avila: After working diligently throughout spring to drive the ball in the opposite direction, Avila hit a two-run home run well over the left field fence, nearly clearing the bullpen. His home run put the Tigers up 3-0 at the time. He later hit a one-out opposite field single in the fourth, putting two aboard.
Yoenis Cespedes: Absolutely robbed Kurt Suzuki of a home run in the third inning. On a 1-2 count, Suzuki nailed a pitch that should've landed in the Tigers' bullpen, but Cespedes made a leaping catch over the fence to save a run. He also hit a one-out triple in the sixth inning, then scored on a sacrifice fly by Castellanos.
Rajai Davis: Finished 0-for-3 for the day with a strikeout and a walk. Playing on Opening Day may have been a reward for 2014, and the reverse splits for Hughes favored Davis over Gose according to manager Brad Ausmus, but it didn't help Davis on Monday afternoon.
Miguel Cabrera: Went 0-for-4 on Opening Day, popping out twice and grounding into a double play.
Victor Martinez: Finished 1-for-4 with a strikeout.
STREAKS AND STATS:
- Tigers hit multiple homers on Opening Day for the first time since April 6, 2009 when Curtis Granderson and Brandon Inge hit home runs against the Blue Jays at Toronto.
- Victor Martinez has hit safely in nine of his last 10 Opening Day starts with a single in the eighth inning.
WIN PROBABILITY GRAPH: