Thursday, April 12, 2007

Inge Breaks Out, Tigers Win Opener

The Tigers took the opening game of their four game series with the Blue Jays 5-4 tonight. Brandon Inge, who came into the game batting .040, started the scoring with a long solo home run to left in the third. He later knocked in 2 more runs with a single and a sacrifice fly. He had really been looking bad at the plate so hopefully this gets him back on track.

Other Tigers with two hits were Sean Casey and Placido Polanco. Polanco, who has been one of the few consistent Tiger hitters so far this year, raised his batting average to .375. He also got a double for his first extra base hit of the season.

Mike Maroth allowed 9 hits, 4 extra base hits and a couple of walks and was in trouble almost every inning. However, he pitched well with runners on base and managed to hold the Jays to 2 runs in 6 innings. Jose Mesa pitched a scoreless 7th but put the first two runners on in the 8th. Zumaya allowed both runners to score thanks, in part, to a wild pitch and a bloop double. He was dominant against the last 4 batters though and notched his first save of the year.

Gary Sheffield and Magglio Ordonez switched places with Sheffield going to right and Ordonez DHing tonight. I think the move was made for a couple of reasons. First Sheffield is really struggling (batting .103 for the season) and perhaps it was thought that a change might do him good. Another reason was probably to give Ordonez a rest. Playing 4 consecutive games on artificial turf would likely not be good on his knee. I'm wondering if Guillen might get a day off or DH appearance in this series as well.

Pudge Rodriguez also got the day off and Mike Rabelo had his first test as the backup catcher. It went without incident for the most part. He did do a nice job blocking a pitch that bounced in front of him and then made a strong throw to second to get Greg Zaun attempting to move up in the second inning. Most of the pitch calling seemed to be coming from the dugout as I noticed him looking over there frequently.

It must have been nice for them to get a chance to play indoors after all the miserable weather they have endured so far. Game two of the series will feature a rematch between Jeremy Bonderman and Roy Halladay who also faced each other on opening day.

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