Tigers take two of three from Rays

Associated Press  |  Last updated April 12, 2012
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, and we get nothing, Maddon said. ''It's tough to not get anything out of the inning, because the kid looked comfortable after that.'' Smyly ended up allowing one run on four hits in four-plus innings. He walked three and struck out four. ''I had an awesome time out there,'' he said. ''Obviously, only going four innings isn't good. You want to go deep into the game, but I threw too many pitches. With everything going on, though, I feel pretty good about it.'' Brennan Boesch provided more than enough offense for the Tigers, driving in four runs on his 27th birthday as the Tigers improved to 5-1. ''Today was a lot of fun,'' Boesch said. ''It's my birthday, and we're going to have a fun flight to Chicago.'' Collin Balester (1-0) allowed one run in two innings of relief. Despite having the American League's best record, the Tigers do not have a win from their starting rotation. Against the Rays, five Tigers relievers combined to allow one run on three hits in five innings. ''They did an excellent job out there,'' said Tigers manager Jim Leyland. ''When you have a young starter out there, you know you are probably going to be into your bullpen. You might as well just accept that.'' The Tigers trailed 1-0 until scoring three runs off Jeff Niemann (0-1) in the fifth. Alex Avila walked and score on Andy Dirks' one-out triple. Ryan Raburn struck out, but Austin Jackson walked and stole second before Boesch's two-run single. The Rays got a run back on Evan Longoria's RBI single in the seventh, but Keppinger lined into a double play and Phil Coke retired Ben Zobrist to end the inning. ''That's just one of those plays,'' Maddon said. ''We had plenty of chances to get runs today, but we didn't take them. Detroit was relentless today, and we weren't.'' Boesch hit another two-run single, this one off Jake McGee, in the bottom of the inning. Avila hit an RBI triple in the eighth, then scored Detroit's seventh run on a wild pitch. Carlos Pena opened the scoring with a homer in the third. Smyly hit Pena with a pitch to lead off the fifth and was taken out for Balester. Notes: Jeremy Hellickson, who was taken to a hospital after being hit in the head during batting practice Wednesday, passed a battery of tests and is expected to make his scheduled start on Saturday in Boston. ... The Tigers are starting the season with nine straight day games, the longest streak by an American League team since the White Sox in 2004. ... Rays catcher Jose Lobato left the game with shoulder soreness, but Maddon didn't think it was a serious.
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Report: Kings blowing up roster, putting Darren Collison, Ben McLemore on block

Russell Westbrook's beef with Kevin Durant might not be over after all

Giants could use franchise tag on Jason Pierre-Paul

Two-time Le Mans winner felt he had to hide homosexuality

Emmanuel Sanders wife: WR lied to Broncos, skipped practice to party

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Report: Celtics focused on Jimmy Butler amid Cousins trade news

DeMarcus Cousins traded to Pelicans for players, picks

West teammates hilariously celebrate Durant and Westbrook oop

Report: Romo willing to rework contract to facilitate trade

Lonzo Ball's father says son is better than Curry right now

Report: Rams could have interest in Cousins if Goff flops

Teams and players who could be dealing at the NBA trade deadline

As NHL trade deadline nears, seven teams who could be dealing

Too much to Process: Can Simmons match the Embiid hype?

Is the NBA All-Star Game worth saving?

There will never be another Dirk Nowitzki

Baseball movies you can stream now to hold you over until Opening Day

The Rewind: Michael Jordan's last All-Star Game

Best of Yardbarker: NBA All-Star Games past, present and future

Eat, Drink, Watch: Everything goes better with a side of New Orleans

The 'Michael Jordan might still win the Dunk contest if he entered' quiz

How to reboot NBA All-Star Weekend

Second-year NBA stars who can salvage the season

MLB News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Teams, players who could be dealing at the NBA trade deadline

As NHL trade deadline nears, seven teams who could be dealing

QUIZ: Name every MLB pitcher with 200 or more wins since 1961

Baseball movies you can stream now to hold you over until Opening Day

There will never be another Dirk Nowitzki

Is the NBA All-Star Game worth saving?

Best of YB: NBA All-Star Games past, present and future

Who will break these NBA All-Star Game records?

The Rewind: Michael Jordan's last All-Star Game

Eat, Drink, Watch: Everything goes better with a side of New Orleans

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker