When Drew Smyly imagined what his major league debut would be like, he never pictured anything as strange as the real thing.
Just a few days after struggling in his only Triple-A start, the 22-year-old looked far from ready for the big leagues when Tampa Bay immediately loaded the bases on two walks and a single.
''It's been an exciting week, but I was struggling,'' Smyly said after Detroit's 7-2 win Thursday. ''I couldn't get into a groove, but once I got the bases loaded, I told myself that I had to settle down and get out of it.''
Smyly did just that, getting Jeff Keppinger to pop out, and then striking out Ben Zobrist and Sean Rodriguez to escape the inning.
''We had the game right there for the taking in the first inning, and we chose not to take it,'' Rays manager Joe Maddon said. ''The kid was obviously nervous, so I felt good with Kepp up there.
''But he gets the pop-up and then two punch-outs, ...