Tigers open with a flourish behind Verlander
CHICAGO -- The rain and cold didn't seem to slow down Detroit's offense or Justin Verlander, based on the Tigers' 6-3 victory over the White Sox on Tuesday afternoon at Guaranteed Rate Field in what was a makeup contest for Monday's regularly scheduled season opener.
As for Jose Quintana? His first career Opening Day start didn't go exactly as planned.
"I tried to keep the game close," Quintana said. "But the five runs, that's too much against Verlander. He threw the ball well."
Quintana was uncharacteristically wild and got touched up for the big fly over 5 1/3 innings, during which the Tigers scored six runs on five hits. JaCoby Jones launched his first career home run in the second inning, a three-run drive to left, and Nicholas Castellanos followed three batters later with a two-run dinger to cap the five-run frame. In allowing Ian Kinsler's solo homer in the fourth, Quintana matched a career high for homers allowed in a game.
"Any way that we can keep the line moving, get it back to the top, gives us the best opportunity to win," Kinsler said. "If we're putting the ball in play and they make one mistake, it can allow us to get back to the top of the order and allow [Miguel Cabrera] and Nick and [Victor Martinez] to get another at-bat."
Verlander lasted 6 1/3 innings and 102 pitches, striking out 10 and walking two. Cody Asche, Tim Anderson, Avisail Garcia and Jacob May accounted for nine of those 10.
"He was pounding the zone and he was elevating, as he does," White Sox manager Rick Renteria said of Verlander. "He gets the strikeouts going just above.
"You see it at your eye level, and it's kind of hard to lay off. We had a lot of guys that had a tough time laying off that pitch. Even though you talk about it, you go over it, it's still one of those things where you're facing an ace. He is an ace, and he did what he normally does: He attacks the zone, and then he ends up making you chase up out of the zone."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
JaCoby Jack: Quintana had 0-2 counts on both Jones and Castellanos before yielding home runs on pitches down and in. Jones, who won a job out of Spring Training thanks in part to better-than-expected plate discipline, fouled off three pitches before golfing a breaking ball out on a 2-2 pitch. Castellanos declined to chase three pitches out of the zone after digging his 0-2 hole but went to the opposite field with a full-count fastball.
"I was just thinking see ball, hit ball," Jones said, "trying to make contact and see what happens." More >
Surprisingly deep thoughts: It was on June 11 of last season that Quintana gave up his third home run of the year, coming in Kansas City on his 13th start. He matched that total after 3 2/3 innings on Tuesday, yielding his 21st career multihomer game in his 152nd start.
"He pitched fine," White Sox third baseman Todd Frazier said. "What are you going to do? It was just one inning. We know how good he is. They hit some good pitches; that was it. He was hitting his spots." More >
UPON FURTHER REVIEW
Kinsler originally was ruled safe at second on a pickoff attempt by reliever Michael Ynoa to second baseman Tyler Saladino in the ninth inning. But after Renteria challenged the play, the call was overturned and Kinsler was ruled out.
"I couldn't quite find my zone today. I'll come back out tomorrow, and that's the best thing about it, is I get to come back out tomorrow and compete again." -- Anderson, who finished 0-for-4 with three strikeouts
"It's still Game 1, no matter how you look at it. Yeah, we didn't have people coming in in convertible Mustangs today, but we still had Ver and Quintana. So, Game 1, however you want to look at it." -- Castellanos, on playing a makeup game for Opening Day
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
Jones is the first Tigers rookie to homer on Opening Day since Kirk Gibson did so against Kansas City's Dennis Leonard in 1980, according to the Elias Sports Bureau and baseball-reference.com. He's the first Tiger to hit his first Major League homer on Opening Day since John Sullivan in 1965, also against Kansas City (then the A's).
Tigers left fielder Justin Upton left the game with a bruised left knee and is day to day, according to the club. He made a running grab at the left-field warning track to rob Frazier in the sixth inning, then was lifted for pinch-hitter Tyler Collins in the top of the seventh. More >
Tigers: Jordan Zimmermann, who went 5-0 with a 0.55 ERA last April to begin his Tigers tenure before injuries derailed his season, would settle for a deep start and a win in his season debut on Wednesday as the series continues with a 2:10 p.m. ET matchup.
White Sox: James Shields hopes to put last year's discouraging showing with the White Sox behind him as he starts anew with the South Siders on Wednesday at 1:10 p.m. CT at Guaranteed Rate Field. Shields allowed 31 home runs over 114 1/3 innings thrown for the White Sox in 2016.
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