Underneath all that snow, there wasn’t just a diamond – as the Tigers’ commercial told us all winter there would be. There was a perfect Opening Day in the works. So was the long wait worth it? All that skidding, all that shivering, all that shoveling? The largest crowd to attend an opener at Comerica Park (45,068) would say it was. Seriously, what more could have gone right on Monday in the Tigers’ walk-off 4-3 triumph over the Kansas City Royals? The day was dry. The day was warm (enough). The sun was out. “There were only two things that could have spoiled it for me,” Tigers manager Brad Ausmus said. “One, if we had lost. And, two, if the sun wasn’t out. “For me, Opening Day is this: The sun is out, fans are having fun, and the players’ energy is higher. “It’s the one game before September that has a playoff atmosphere.” And with the unlikely combination of a triple by newcomer Alex Gonzalez tying the game in the seventh, his first triple in three years, plus a one-out single by Gonzalez winning it in the ninth, a veritable hat trick of happiness was completed. 1) Ausmus’ debut as the Tigers’ manager ended in success. 2) Playing in his first major-league game, Tyler Collins scored the winning run as a pinch-runner. And, 3) Joe Nathan, the new closer, didn’t close it. He won it. “My first win as a manager is something I won’t forget,” Ausmus said. But there was even more to the day than that. Hitting fifth instead of first, Austin Jackson tripled to ignite the two-run comeback in the seventh.
Nice start! Alex Gonzalez is hero, Tigers win on walk-off hit
Detroit News | Apr 1