--DH Victor Martinez showed Detroit fans why the Tigers purchased his services for four seasons by hitting a three-run double in the first inning to help his new team win its home opener. Martinez drilled a 2-and-2 fastball on one-hop off the wall in right center to give Detroit a 3-0 lead. It turned out to be enough runs as Detroit defeated Kansas City, 5-2. Martinez was thrown out at the plate in the third inning trying to score from second on a single to right by C Alex Avila. His hitting ability greatly exceeds his speed.
--RHP Max Scherzer did a nice job of mixing pitches and locations in improving to 2-0 this season. Scherzer allowed seven hits in six inning with two walks and three strikeouts. Scherzer averaged nearly a strikeout an inning at Comerica Park last season, but got most of his swings and misses earlier in the count. He worked out of trouble in the third and fourth innings. "I found some situations where I wanted to use my curve more, wanted to use my slider more," Scherzer said. "It's nice to pitch with a lead."
--SS Jhonny Peralta didn't have an RBI in spring training but that might have been because he was working on situational hitting. Peralta has a reputation as a notorious pull hitter but has been trying to hit the ball to right and center more this year, especially on outside pitches with runners in scoring position. In Detroit's home opening win he came up with the bases loaded and one out in the third and drove a 1-and-1 pitch to deep left field for a sacrifice fly. He got a high fastball in the first inning and roped the 1-and-1 pitch inside fair territory to left for a double.
--LF Brennan Boesch drew a start over LF Ryan Raburn and might continue to eat into his teammate's playing time if he continues to hit. One of the reasons Boesch started was because Kansas City was throwing a right-hander, with a left-hander scheduled for Saturday, which means Raburn will be playing. Boesch was 0-for-3 with a walk, but continued to show a better ability to control the strike zone than he did when slumping the second half of last season.
--RHP Brayan Villarreal pitched a shaky two-thirds of an inning in the seventh of Detroit's home opener, but helped himself with two solid defensive plays. Villarreal leaped to snare a hopper by SS Alcides Escobar and threw him out to start the seventh. 2B Chris Getz walked but Villarreal picked him off. Then he allowed three straight singles to be knocked out of the game. "I thought he did a good job," manager Jim Leyland said. "As it turned out, that pickoff was the play of the game. And he made a good fielding play to start the inning. I have a lot of confidence in him. He's going to have to learn to change the eye level of the hitters. Against left-handers he's going to have to sink it down and then go up and out of the strike zone some."
--RHP Joaquin Benoit was signed to a three-year contract by Detroit to do exactly what he did, pitch a scoreless eighth to line up RHP Jose Valverde up for another save. Benoit worked a three-batter eighth with one strikeout and has now set Valverde up for two saves. He's mostly a fastball/slider pitcher, but it also looks like he throws a split-finger fastball.
--LHP Daniel Schlereth is being eased into the role occupied by LHP Phil Coke, now a starter, last season. Schlereth will work in a variety of late-inning situations, but showed he's perfectly capable of handling one-batter appearances. He relieved RHP Brayan Villarreal with the bases loaded and two out in the seventh and got 1B Kila Ka'Aihue on a grounder to second to end the threat. It was a lefty-on-lefty match-up. Schlereth showed the same decent control he had when brought up last September.
--3B Brandon Inge will have his eyes on the Masters golf tournament this weekend, with a little first-hand knowledge of what the golfers are experiencing as they battle Augusta National. Inge has played the course four times, from the championship tees, he said, with rounds of 82, 83, 84 and 85. He took teammate RHP Rick Porcello with him twice and the pitcher said he shot 89 and 91. "I birdied the 13th and 16th holes," Porcello said. "It's really something." Porcello reportedly did not play from the back tees.
BY THE NUMBERS
44,799 -- Attendance for Detroit's season home opener. It was the third largest opening day crowd in Comerica Park history and fourth largest since the park opened in 2000.
QUOTE TO NOTE
"I have a lot of confidence in him. He's going to have to learn to change the eye level of the hitters. Against left-handers he's going to have to sink it down and then go up and out of the strike zone some." -- Manager Jim Leyland, on rookie RHP Brayan Villarreal, who shows a nice fastball, a terrific slider and pretty good confidence.
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