Javier Pace took a swing.
Boston Red Sox defender Ryan Frazier deposited the ball in the fastball 2-2, just outside the left-field wall in the eighth inning of the Detroit Tigers’ new shortstop.
“This is Xavi Base,” said Miguel Cabrera, a senior LTTE player. “He understood.”
Pace’s two-run home run, signing a six – year, $ 140 million contract this off-season, traveled 396 feet to give the Tigers a 3-1 victory in the opening game of the series against the Red Sox at Comerica Park on Monday.
“I was focused,” Beas said. “That’s the biggest key for me, to focus and try to see the ball as much as I can. … For me, it’s important to do everything slowly. I can really focus or swing on the balls.
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Left-hander Gregory Choto started the ninth inning and recorded his first save of the season.
Base blast – the number in his life. 150 – broke the tie by 1.
“For a reason he got $ 140 million,” said Tigers third pacer Jaime Candelario. “He’s been doing it his whole life: hit the ball hard and see what happens. It’s Xavi.”
“If you’ve seen Xavi for the last few years, he’s been Xavi for the rest of his life, and we’m going to take it and run,” said Tigers manager A.J. Hinch said. “Big moment, small moment, throw it somewhere near you. He’s going to make a swing on it. When he’s doing damage like that, it’s very electric.”
The Tigers were out for an early lead, but Red Sox slacker Jedi Martinez, a Tigers in 2014-17, crushed a solo home run in the fifth inning off right-hander Matt Manning.
Martinez’s home run marked Manning’s solo debut in his season debut. The 24-year-old was brilliant at the start of his 19th MLB career, holding the Red Sox for one run in six innings. He created two strikeouts, without giving up a single walk.
“It is very impressive that he is very aggressive in the strike zone and he is very talented at the start of the game,” Hing said. “They came out swinging. He was not afraid to leave the strike area. He kept beating. He was very restrained. If it had been another part of the season he would have returned to seventh (inning).”
Light rain was steady throughout the first 40 innings, but the weather did not force a delay.
Red Sox opener Michael Wacha faced Manning in the 40th inning of a run, allowing two strikes and three walks with four strikeouts. Thanks to Austin Meadows’ single, pace walk and Candelario walk, the Tigers loaded the bases against Wacha in the first inning.
“He walked too,” Hing said of Pease, which had a 5.1% walk rate last season. “Keep it in your notes.”
Miguel Cabrera’s sacrifice made the Tigers 1-0.
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Sixth, Cabrera recorded 2,990 hits in his 20-year MLB career through Red Sox Right Reliever Matt Barnes of Double to Right Field. He also has 598 doubles.
Cabrera hit a singles eighth in his career to take his total to 2,991.
“I don’t want to put pressure on myself,” Cabrera said. “I want to go out and play good baseball. That’s all. I’m going to do whatever it takes to win games. That’s my focus right now.”
The best start to Manning’s career
Secrets to Manning’s Dominance: First-Pitch Strike and Crack Command.
He threw eight pitches (for eight strikes) in the first inning to set the tone, recording his first strike out when the Rafael Towers landed on a four-seam crack swing at 96 mph.
In the fourth inning Manning took his second and final strikeout, knocking out Xander Bogarts at 96.3 mph. Second-year Wright, who hit 5.80 in 18 starts last season, finished his start with seven pitches (for seven strikes) in the sixth inning.
“The strike zone is challenging,” said Tucker Bornhardt, a Tiger catcher. “We talked a lot about it. He’s been aggressive on the plate and trusting his stuff. Tonight, he’s clearly going out and trying to hit the guys. It was awesome. He was so locked up.”
Manning tossed 13 first-pitch strikes for the 19 batsmen he faced, trailing 2-0 only twice: Jackie Bradley Jr. (ground) in the third inning and Alex Verduco (ground) in the fifth inning.
Verdugo, in fifth, followed Martinez’s solo home run 3-0 with Manning. But the Tigers’ pitch responded with three consecutive fastballs in the strike zone, with one last landing.
“I think it’s a good pitch,” Manning said of Martinez’s home run. “I (my cracker) got to where I wanted to be, and he’s able to turn and burn. He’s a good hitter, and he’s got the best of it. … I’m doing a great job of getting it.
For his 68 pitches (47 strikes), Manning used 41 four-seam fastballs (60%), 10 sliders (15%), eight curveballs (12%), six singers (9%) and three conversions (4%). He got six swings and misses – five through his four-seamer – and called up 12 strikes, three of which were his slider and two his curveball.
His crack averaged 93.7 mph and averaged 97.3 mph.
“They drove from the start,” Manning said. “I was ahead of them. I wanted them to swing. Games like that, you really wouldn’t get your secondary stuff. If they’re going to swing continuously, I’m going to feed them (fastballs) right there.”
Right-hander Alex Lange took charge of Manning to start the seventh inning and did not miss a beat.
Lange, who threw 10 for strikes in 14 pitches, worked around the Tevers’ lead-off single, knocking out Bogarts (swinging, 87.6-mile slider) and Martinez (87.1-mile slider, apparently). Vertico flew to the deep right field as the third out.
“He’s got a lot of‘ FU ’(mood) in his things,” Bornhard said. “I like it about him. Every pitcher has to have something in his way. I think that’s what makes him the best. He has the ability to throw all his pitches in the strike zone at any time.”
Wright Michael Fulmer finished eighth with a score of 10 off 16 pitches for strikes. Vasquez hit a lead-off single, but Fulmer responded with three consecutive outs, including Travis Shaw’s swinging strikeout in the mid-80s.
Choto finished ninth, allowing the Tovers to double out.
Contact Evan Petzold at Epetzold@freepress.com or follow him on Twitter @EvanPetzold. Read more about the Detroit Tigers and subscribe to our Tigers newsletter.