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LONGBALLS & SHORT RELIEF = FIRST TIGER WIN.....TIGERS 5, Toronto 1, W 4/8/09
Posted on: 04-08-2009

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>>caption:  GERALD LAIRD (R) GETS
SET TO TAG-OUT ALEX RIOS (#15) TO
END TORONTO'S ONLY REAL THREAT<<

@ TORONTO, ONT:

    Zach Miner had a skaky B-1st,
but settled down and got the support
of three Tiger homeruns and flawless
relief pitching in a 5-1 win at Toronto Wednesday night.
    The result was Detroit's first win in their three games this season.
    The Tigers staked Miner to 3-0 and 5-1 leads on a pair of homeruns by
Miguel Cabrera (#1 & #2) and the third dinger in three straight games this
new season off the bat of Brandon Inge.
    Cabrera put Miner in front before he ever threw a pitch by clubbing a 3rHR
to the seats in LField just above the home bullpen in the T-1st.
    Marco Scutaro and Aaron Hill greeted Miner with back-to-back doubles to
open the B-1st make it 3-1. The Jays then loaded the bases with nobody out in
the inning and it looked like Miner's first '09 start might be a short one. However,
two Torontonians were out at the plate on an infield grounder/force-out and
a short fly to RField that rookie Josh Anderson turned into a 9-2 double play to
end the difficult frame.  
    Miner was also assisted by a 6-4-3/DP in the B-3rd and wasn't scored upon
again in scattering 6-H & 2-W with 4-K in his 5.2-IP. Miner threw 85-pitches/53-
strikes for the win (1-0).
    Cabrera blasted an estimated 440-foot monster shot off the CField restaurant
windows in the T-5th and Inge went yard to LField in the T-6th for a pair of solo blows
that made it 5-1.
    Bobby Seay came on in Tiger relief for the second straight night, got Miner out of
a 2-on, 2-out situation in the B-6th with a strike-out of Lyle Overbay, then worked
a perfect B-7th with another whiff. Ryan Perry made his MLB debut with a perfect
B-8th with 1-K. Fernando Rodney then made his season debut in a non-save situation to
post a 1-2-3/B-9th, although Curtis Granderson had to make a catch as he ran into
the straightaway CField wall of a game-ending flyball off Overbay's bat.
    The trio of Tiger relievers combined to retire the final 10 Toronto batters.  
    All the Tiger runs came off Blue Jays starter Jesse Litsch, who allowed 5-R/5-ER
on 7-H & 1-W with 5-K in his 6-IP, throwing a somewhat elevated 106-pitches/64-
strikes in the loss (0-1).
    Cabrera went 3-for-4 with 2-R & 4-RBI, adding a single to his pair of homers.
    The only other batter in the ballgame with multiple basehits was Scutaro of the
Blue Jays who went 2-for-4 including his double and he scored T-O's only run.    

    DET     5-8-1, 4-LOB      (W) Miner, 1-0
    TOR     1-6-0, 6-LOB      (L) Litsch, 0-1

QUOTEBOOK...

TIGERS MGR JIM LEYLAND:   "We were kidding (Cabrera) before the game, asking him
if he was going to hit one and he hit two...It was kind of neat. There was a [fan] out
in center field that looked like he was getting ready to catch (Cabrera's second homerun).
All of a sudden he turned his head and looked up. You don't see many like that...(Cabrera)
came over here last year and there was a lot of pressure on him. He was with a new team,
it took him time to settle in. Once he did, you saw what happened. Now he's off to a great
start. He's a great player, he's much more comfortable. I know he likes it here, he's settled
in more. There's no telling what he can do. He's that good...Sometimes the biggest play of
the game is in the first inning or the second inning, it's not just in the ninth inning...That
(B-1st Anderson double play throw) was probably the biggest play of the game, as it turned
out."

TIGERS 1BMAN MIGUEL CABRERA:   "All the frustration we had last year, you've got
that on your mind...Right now we're going out there and playing relaxed, playing our
baseball...Right now I feel more comfortable because I know the league better, I know
how they're going to pitch me. I feel more relaxed. I'm not thinking a lot at home plate,
I make my adjustments and that's it...I feel like I'm seeing good pitches. I feel like I see
the ball very good right now."

TIGERS SP ZACH MINER:   "When (Cabrera) hits the ball, usually they're asking for a
new ball."

JAYS SP JESSE LITSCH:   "Three pitches, three home runs, self-explanatory. Cabrera
hit two sinkers and Inge hit a cutter so it was all fastballs. They were just up in the
zone."

JAYS MGR CITO GASTON:   "(Miner) sinks the ball wel. He doesn't really throw that hard
but he moves the ball around, throws strikes and he's got a good sinker...Anderson
made a great throw (in the B-1st), what can you say?"

EXTRA INNINGS:

    Inge became the first Tiger in at least 50 years to homer in each of the
season's first three games. A quick check with the Society for American
Baseball Research hinted that no Tiger has ever accomplished the feat.  
    Cabrera has gone 7-for-10 for a .700-BA in the season's first three games.
    Tiger INF Ramon Santiago made his first start of the season, went 1-for-4, but
made the game's only error at SStop to hasten Miner's exit.
    Toronto's loss prevented the Blue Jays from their first 3-0 season start in 13
years. The only two Jays 3-0 beginnings were in 1992 & '96.
    Jays LHP Ricky Romero and Tigers RHP Rick Porcello are the probable pitchers
for the Thursday matinee conclusion to the 4-game series. Both will be making their
major league debuts.

                                                                ###    

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