It was a very disappointing debut for newcomer Brad Penny, who was hit hard as he took the loss. Penny wasn't able to make it out of the fifth inning, going just 4 1/3 innings, allowing eight runs on seven hits and four walks.
The game got off to a bad start in the first inning, when Penny started giving up hard hit balls, and the defense couldn't pick him up. Two ground balls in the first frame went for hits (one each to Will Rhymes and Jhonny Peralta) that likely should have been made, which would have drastically changed the complexion of the game. The defense also committed two errors later in the game, a throwing error on Rhymes and a fielding error on Austin Jackson.
The Tigers started to claw back into the game, via a solo home run by Austin Jackson in the third and then two more runs in the fifth, putting the score at 6-3. But Penny gave up a double and a walk and was yanked, and Brad Thomas promptly gave up a three run homer, for all intents and purposes putting the game out of reach.
Three AB's Of The Game
Bottom 2, Brad Penny (RHP) vs. Mark Teixeira (LHB)
With runners on the corners and one out, Penny faced the dangerous Teixeira, who blasted a three run homer on Opening Day as well. Penny fell behind in the count with a first pitch ball, and with two runners on already and only one out, Penny felt the need to challenge. Much had been made of Penny's attempt to incorporate a split-finger fastball, which might have been a good pitch to use in this scenario. Instead he tried to challenge Teixeira with a 93-mph four-seam fastball, which he left up, and which Teixeira turned around and took deep to right center field for a three run homer.
Bottom 5, Brad Thomas (LHP) vs. Russell Martin (RHB)
After Penny allowed two more baserunners, Jim Leyland yanked him favor of Thomas, who got the lefty Granderson to ground out. But Leyland elected to leave Thomas in to face the righty-hitting Martin. Thomas fell behind early, but was able to get his slider for a called strike, and then worked his fastball to split the next two pitches to get the count to 2-2. Thomas returned to his slider, hoping to bring it back around the outside part of the plate, not a bad pitch choice here, but he didn't start the pitch out far enough, and it came back over the heart of the plate, where Martin took the pitch and belted it to deep left center for another three run home run, effectively ending the game.
Top 9, Mariano Rivera (RHP) vs. Miguel Cabrera (RHB)
After getting a threat going, Yankees manager Joe Girardi was forced to take action with Miguel Cabrera at the plate. With two runners on and a four run lead, Cabrera couldn't have tied the game with one swing, but it was close, and the last thing Girardi needed was to let an easy win get away, so he called on his closer to face Cabrera. Cabrera fouled off the first two pitches before grounding out on a hard cutter to end the game. The real significance of the at-bat wasn't what occurred, but rather that the Tigers made enough of a rally to force the Yankees to use their closer again, in what should have been a comfortable win.