Detroit’s Andy Dirks, right, and Austin Jackson high-five after scoring against the Tampa Bay Rays on a single by Brennan Boesch in the fifth inning Thursday in Detroit. The Tigers won 7-2.
DETROIT — Brennan Boesch drove in four runs on his 27th birthday, leading the Detroit Tigers to their fifth win in six games to start the season, 7-2 over the Tampa Bay Rays on Friday.
Drew Smyly gave up a run in four-plus innings in his major league debut. Despite having the American League’s best record, Tigers starters have not earned a win.
Collin Balester (1-0) won this one with two innings of relief.
The Tigers trailed 1-0 until scoring three runs off Jeff Niemann (0-1) in the fifth. Alex Avila walked and score on Andy Dirks’ one-out triple. Ryan Raburn struck out, but Austin Jackson walked and stole second before Boesch’s two-run single.
The Rays got a run back on Evan Longoria’s RBI single in the seventh, but Jeff Keppinger lined into a double play and Phil Coke retired Ben Zobrist to end the inning. Boesch then hit another two-run single in the bottom of the inning.
Avila hit an RBI triple in the eighth, then scored Detroit’s seventh run on a wild pitch.
Smyly had a shaky beginning to his first start, loading the bases on two walks and a single. But Smyly got out of the inning on a pop-up and two strikeouts.
He gave up four hits, walked three and struck out four.
Carlos Pena opened the scoring with a homer in the third. Smyly hit Pena with a pitch to lead off the fifth and was taken out for Balester.
NOTES: Jeremy Hellickson, who was taken to a hospital after being hit in the head during batting practice Wednesday, passed a battery of tests and is expected to make his scheduled start on Saturday in Boston. ... The Tigers are starting the season with nine straight day games, the longest streak by an American League team since the White Sox in 2004.
Rangers 5, Mariners 3
ARLINGTON, Texas — Michael Young hit a two-run homer and had four RBIs to back Derek Holland, leading the Texas Rangers over the Seattle Mariners 5-3 Thursday.
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.
Holland (1-0) allowed two runs and five hits in 7 1-3 innings, struck out eight and walked none. He extended a scoreless streak by Texas starters to 22 2-3 innings before Alex Liddi’s RBI single in the sixth. Kyle Seager added a 438-foot homer into the right-field upper deck in the seventh.
Twins 10, Angels 9
MINNEAPOLIS — Justin Morneau hit a two-run, go-ahead homer in the eighth inning and the Minnesota Twins rallied from six runs down to beat the Los Angeles Angels 10-9 on Thursday.
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 team’s 20 hits, enough to make up for the 14 men left on base, including eight in scoring position.
Denard Span had four hits, including an infield single that tied it at 6 in the seventh inning. On the play, he reached first at the same time as Scott Downs, stomping down on top of the reliever’s foot with his cleat. Downs right ankle rolled awkwardly and he left the game what the team called a bruise.
Cubs 8, Brewers 0
CHICAGO — Matt Garza pitched three-hit ball for 8 2-3 innings, and the Chicago Cubs sent Zack Greinke to his worst beating in 1˝ years in an 8-0 victory over the Milwaukee Brewers on Thursday that prevented a four-game sweep.
Helping the Cubs improve to 2-5, Garza (1-0) struck out nine and walked two — both in the first two innings. He induced Cesar Izturis to hit into an inning-ending double play in the second, starting a stretch in which he retired 16 of 17 batters.
After Nori Aoki reached on Garza’s throwing error with two outs in the ninth, Garza was removed after 119 pitches. Shawn Camp needed just four pitches to end it, retiring pinch-hitter George Kottaras on a game-ending groundout.
Nationals 3, Reds 2
WASHINGTON — Ryan Zimmerman scored on Alfredo Simon’s wild pitch with two outs in the 10th inning, helping the Nationals extend their best start since moving to Washington with a 3-2 victory over the Cincinnati Reds on Thursday.
The Nationals improved to 5-2, good for first place in the NL East and treating an announced sellout crowd of 40,907 to a win w in the home opener for the first time since 2008.
Simon (0-1) hit Zimmerman with a pitch leading off the 10th, and one out later, Jayson Werth singled. A groundout pushed the runners to second and third with two outs. With Roger Bernadina at the plate, Simon threw an 0-1 pitch in the dirt, and Zimmerman slid under the tag after catcher Devin Mesoraco collected the ball and threw to Simon.
Giants 4, Rockies 2
DENVER — No win for the ages. Or, for that matter, the aged.
Madison Bumgarner scattered four hits over 7 1-3 innings and took a no-hit bid into the sixth Thursday in the San Francisco Giants’ 4-2 win over the Colorado Rockies.
At 49, Moyer failed in his second attempt to become the oldest pitcher to win a major league game.
Moyer (0-2) surrendered four runs, two of them earned, and eight hits in 5 1-3 innings. He walked one, struck out three and hit a batter before leaving to a standing ovation in the sixth.
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