Chills and Thrills: Tigers Heat Up Bats to Beat A’s on Opening Day


On a thrilling, chilly Opening Day in Detroit, the Tigers went to battle. Fortunately for the loyal Tigers fans that braved the elements, their home team would end the day with a tight 5-4 victory over the Oakland A’s. This win nudges the Detroit Tigers to an impressive early-season record of 6-1, leaving the A’s trailing in their wake at 1-7. The Tigers gave their fans a rollercoaster of emotions, culminating in the joy of triumph they had eagerly awaited.

Southpaw Ace

For the majority of his time on the mound, Tarik Skubal, Detroit’s left-handed ace, was in absolute control. His performance through 6.1 innings was nothing short of dominant, with his changeup proving particularly devastating against Oakland’s lineup. Out of 92 pitches, an impressive 21 of his first pitches were strikes, a testament to his precision. However, the game took a tense turn in the 6th inning when Brent Rooker of the A’s capitalized on a rare mistake from Skubal, sending a 2-run homer soaring. The subsequent hits from the A’s lineup – 4 earned runs credited to Skubal – slightly marred his otherwise impeccable performance. Skubal’s day would end shortly after, but not before he racked up 9 strikeouts.

Despite these challenges, the Tigers’ offense showed resilience and some firepower. The fourth inning was electric for Detroit, kicked off by a solo homer from Matt Vierling. Mistakes from the A’s were ruthlessly exploited, with Andy Ibanez reaching first on an error and Spencer Torkelson’s double and Riley Greene single driving in crucial runs.

Newcomers to the Rescue

Even as the A’s fought back to tie the game, Detroit’s Mark Canha and Gio Urshela were not to be outdone. Following the game-tying home run from Rooker that evened the score at 3-3, the Tigers’ Mark Canha took center stage. With two outs in the 6th inning’s pressure-cooker atmosphere, Canha unleashed a towering 414-foot solo home run. This critical hit reclaimed the lead for Detroit, making it 4-3. The A’s managed to draw level again in the 7th, setting the stage for another Detroit response.

This time, it was Spencer Torkelson stepping up early in the 8th, lacing his second double of the game along the left-field line. With the heart of the Tigers’ order up next, anticipation was high. However, both Riley Greene and Canha were retired quickly. Then, with two outs and the tension palpable, Gio Urshela delivered a decisive double, driving in Torkelson to edge the Tigers ahead 5-4 as they braced for the final inning.

Bullpen Back to Work

The late innings saw Detroit’s bullpen hold fast against Oakland’s attempts to rally.

Following a smooth 8th inning courtesy of Jason Foley, Tigers’ skipper AJ Hinch decided to lead off the 9th with southpaw Andrew Chafin. The Athletics tested him, coaxing two walks, yet Chafin managed to set down two batters. Then, the scene was set for Alex Lange, who stepped into his inaugural save chance of the year. Facing Zack Gelof, Lange delivered a decisive 72 mph curveball to strike him out. The K sealed the game and secured an Opening Day win for Detroit.

With little time to rest, the Tigers are set to host the A’s again at Comerica Park for the second matchup of the series on Saturday. Taking the mound for Detroit will be the veteran right-hander Kenta Maeda. He is slated to duel against Oakland’s own right-handed pitcher, Paul Blackburn.


For more from our Detroit Tigers and Detroit Lions beat writer, Matt Broder, check him out on Twitter here: @mattbro21


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Original Photo Credit: © Junfu Han / USA TODAY NETWORK