DETROIT – 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.
Its been an exciting week, but I was struggling, Smyly said after Detroits 7-2 win Thursday. I couldnt 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, he said.
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 isnt 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. Its my birthday, and were going to have a fun flight to Chicago.
Collin Balester (1-0) allowed one run in two innings of relief. Despite having the American Leagues 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.
TWINS 10, ANGELS 9: In Minneapolis, Justin Morneau hit a two-run, go-ahead homer in the eighth inning and Minnesota rallied from six runs down to beat Los Angeles.
Joe Mauer went deep, too, hitting a three-run shot off Dan Haren in the fifth that cut into a 6-0 lead the Angels built against Francisco Liriano. Every Twins batter had at least one of the teams 20 hits, enough to make up for the 14 men left on base.
Denard Span had four hits, including an infield single that tied it at 6 in the seventh inning.
RANGERS 5, MARINERS 3: In Arlington, Texas, Michael Young hit a two-run homer and had four RBI to back Derek Holland and lead Texas over Seattle.
Young had an RBI single in the first. With Texas leading 1-0 in the fifth inning for the third straight game, Young hit an opposite-field homer into the first row in right for a 3-0 lead against Jason Vargas (1-1). Young added a run-scoring single in the eighth off Erasmo Ramirez.