Miguel Cabrera homered through the snow in his first at-bat of the season, then added a sparkling play at first base to lift the Detroit Tigers to a 3-2 victory over the Cleveland Indians on Thursday.
Matthew Boyd (1-0) beat reigning Cy Young Award winner Shane Bieber, and the Tigers welcomed their fans back to Comerica Park with a victory. The temperature at game time was 32 degrees, and the snow was starting to pick up a bit when Cabrera connected for his 488th career homer.
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Bieber (0-1) allowed two runs on Cabrera’s homer in the first inning, then another in the second. He pitched fine after that and ended up with 12 strikeouts in six innings.
Roberto Perez hit a two-run homer off Gregory Soto in the ninth, but Soto held on for the save. AJ Hinch won his first game as manager of the Tigers. The former Houston skipper missed last season while suspended in the aftermath of the Astros’ sign-stealing scandal.
The 37-year-old Cabrera could reach both 500 homers and 3,000 hits this season. His production has fallen off in recent years, but his home run was a nice moment for the small number of fans who were able to attend this season opener — and he looked downright spry when he made a diving backhanded stop on Josh Naylor’s grounder in the fourth.
Cabrera was playing in the field for the first time since 2019.
The weather eventually cleared up, but the ballpark looked like a snow globe at times early on. When Cabrera sent a drive to right it wasn’t easy to see the ball and he slid into second, in case it was in play. The barely cleared the wall, and the home run was upheld after a review, giving Detroit a 2-0 lead and Cabrera his 2,867th career hit.
JaCoby Jones added an RBI double in the second, and Boyd kept the Indians quiet on offense in their first game since trading star shortstop Francisco Lindor in the offseason. The Detroit left-hander was making his second straight opening day start, and he’s hoping to bounce back from a 2020 season in which he posted a 6.71 ERA.
Boyd allowed three hits and four walks with two strikeouts in 5 2/3 innings.
Bieber yielded five hits and three walks while posting a big strikeout number on opening day for a second straight season. He struck out 14 in the opener last year.
The Tigers are allowing Comerica to be filled to about 20% capacity.
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Tigers: Detroit put RHP Rony Garcia on the 10-day injured list, retroactive to Monday, with an abdominal strain.
The Tigers designated OF Christin Stewart for assignment and selected LHP Derek Holland to the 40-man roster.
Detroit sends RHP Julio Teheran to the mound Saturday against Cleveland RHP Zach Plesac. Teheran, a former All-Star, joined the Tigers on a minor league deal and then made the team.