Just over a week into the regular season, the Detroit Tigers are sitting atop the standings in the American League Central, American League, and Major League Baseball as a whole with an 8-1 record to start the season. The story of their last series against the Pittsburgh Pirates was the pitching that dominated the Pirates in two out of the three games. Pair that with timely hitting, and you have the makings for an exciting series win. If hitting and offense are your forte, you most likely weren’t too thrilled with this series. In the end, the Tigers came away winners in two of three which will make any Tigers fan happy. Let’s take a look at how they got there.
Game 1: Pittsburgh 5, Detroit 4
WP: Gerrit Cole (1-0)
LP: Anibal Sanchez (1-1)
Sanchez was not at his best for the Tigers in the Pirates home opener. The first pitch he threw in the game was sent for a home run, the first of three he gave up that day. Sanchez came into the game without giving up a run this season, but got tagged for all five Pittsburgh runs in what would be his first loss of the season. The Tigers made a late game rally in the 9th inning, scoring three runs to cut the lead to 5-4, but they were unable to push the tying run across and suffered their first loss of the season.
Game 2: Detroit 2, Pittsburgh 0
WP: Shane Greene (2-0)
LP: A.J. Burnett (0-1)
S: Joakim Soria (3)
Matching his first great start for the Tigers, Shane Greene outdid himself this time by pitching eight scoreless innings while walking no batters, and giving up only three hits. Rajai Davis put the Tigers on the board first with his RBI single in the 7th inning, which would prove to be the game winner. Ian Kinsler added a RBI in the 9th inning and Joakim Soria closed the door in the bottom of the 9th for his third save of the season.
Game 3: Detroit 1, Pittsburgh 0
WP: Alfredo Simon (2-0)
LP: Francisco Liriano (0-1)
S: Joakim Soria (4)
Not to be outdone by Greene, Alfredo Simon went out and tossed eight scoreless innings, giving up only two hits, and walking no batters. The shutout was the second consecutive for the Tigers and the fourth in nine games. Davis was the hero once again by hitting a solo home run in the sixth inning, the only run of the game to score. Soria shut the door in the 9th inning again, getting the Pirates in order for the second consecutive night, for his fourth save of the season.
Tigers three stars of the series
1. Alfredo Simon: 1 win, 2 K, 0 BB, 2 H, 0.00 ERA
2. Shane Greene: 1 win, 3 K, 0 BB, 3 H, 0.00 ERA
3. Rajai Davis: 2 game winning hits, 2 RBI, .333 BA
While Greene and Simon both probably deserve to be the first star of the series, Simon got the nod due to only allowing two hits in eight innings. Davis was impressive with the bat this series, and without him, perhaps the Tigers would of only won one of three games this series.