Tigers Lose Opener To Kansas City 5-4 in 11 Innings

By: Associated Press
By: Associated Press

DETROIT (AP) -- The $138 million Tigers opened with a thud.
Tony Pena Jr. hit a two-out, tiebreaking single in the 11th inning and the Kansas City Royals held on to beat Detroit 5-4 in Monday's opener.
The big-spenders had a shot at a dramatic win with Clete Thomas on third base with only one out, but Edgar Renteria struck out and the game ended when third baseman Alex Gordon snared Placido Polanco's grounder in the hole and threw him out.
Miguel Cabrera hit a homer in his Detroit debut, helping the home team go ahead 3-0 through five innings, but Justin Verlander had a lackluster start.
Leo Nunez (1-0) threw two hitless innings and Joakim Soria pitched the 11th for the save.
Denny Bautista (0-1) was an out away from pitching two scoreless innings, but Pena's single to center brought home John Buck soon after backup center fielder Brandon Inge threw out Mark Teahen trying to score on a single.
After trailing 3-0, Gordon hit a two-run home run in the sixth and the Royals, with a $57 million payroll, scored two more while facing four pitchers in the seventh.
Carlos Guillen helped send the game into extra innings with a solo shot in the eighth.
The game drew a Comerica Park record crowd of 44,934, breaking the mark set in last year's opener thanks in part to 778 new seats that were added to satisfy some of the growing demand.
The fans were in a good mood until Detroit's ace got into trouble.
Verlander didn't give up a hit for 3 2-3 innings in his first opening-day start, but finished with a shaky line: four runs, four hits and six strikeouts over 6-plus innings.
Verlander was replaced after he gave up a leadoff walk and a single in the seventh, choosing to go with reliever Jason Grilli.
Buck, the first to face Grilli, hit an RBI single to left. Mark Grudzielanek, the first to face Aquilino Lopez, hit a two-out, go-ahead single in the seventh.
Todd Jones pitched a perfect ninth and Bautista followed in the 10th.
Gil Meche, making his second straight opening day start in Detroit, allowed three runs, eight hits, four walks and struck out five over six innings. Brett Tomko followed and gave up one run over two innings, Nunez followed in the ninth.


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