By: Dan Dickerson
It didn’t end exactly the way the Tigers might have wanted – but in the end, the Tigers had a walk-off win, a 3-2 Opening Day victory over the Boston Red Sox. Austin Jackson’s bases loaded single in the bottom of the 9th delivered the win – after the Red Sox had tied the game with two runs in the top of the 9th off Tigers closer Jose Valverde.
The game was scoreless going to the bottom of the 7th, with Justin Verlander and Jon Lester matching each other, zero for zero. Then with two outs in the bottom of the 7th, Jhonny Peralta doubled off Lester, and Alex Avila followed with a double into the left field corner on a 3-2 pitch, and the Tigers had a 1-0 lead. A Jackson triple and Prince Fielder sacrifice fly made it 2-0 in the 8th, setting up what appeared to be another Tigers win with with a Jose Valverde save. But Valverde – who was a perfect 49 for 49 in save opportunities last year – gave up three hits, including a Ryan Sweeney game-tying triple with two outs. All that did,though, was set up the dramatics in the bottom of the 9th. With one out, Peralta singled, then Avila singled. Boston manager Bobby Valentine then went to his closer, Alfredo Aceves – but he hit Ramon Santiago on his left foot to load the bases. Then Jackson ripped a single down the left field line to give the Tigers the 3-2 win.
Verlander had his best Opening Day start – 8 innings, 2 hits, no runs, one walk and seven strikeouts, signalling he’s ready to try to match his incredible numbers from last year. Jackson finished 3-5, Peralta was 3-3 with a walk, and Avila had two hits.
The Tigers are off Friday, game two of the series is a 4pm start on Saturday – Doug Fister goes for the Tigers, against Josh Beckett for the Red Sox.
Listen below to Alex Avila’s RBI double
Listen below to Austin Jackson’s walk off RBI single
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