Big-spending Tigers come up small in opener
DETROIT ó Money canít buy wins. Just ask the Detroit Tigers.
Tony Pena Jr. hit a two-out, tiebreaking single in the 11th inning and the frugal Kansas City Royals held on to beat the big-spending Tigers 5-4 in Mondayís opener and give Trey Hillman a win in his major league debut as manager.
Detroit closer Todd Jones said a teamís payroll is itotallyî irrelevant on any given day.
iBut the beauty of baseball is itís all about the long haul, not one game,î Jones said. iHopefully with the kind of talent we have, weíll find a way to grind out more wins than other people.î
Hillman made the right moves and his players executed in the field to rally from a three-run deficit and hold off a late comeback.
The Tigers will spend about $138 million on their star-studded team, putting them in the pack with Boston and the New York Mets ó behind only the Yankees.
Kansas City, meanwhile, will try to compete with a payroll of approximately $58 million ó ranking among the smallest.
iI donít think weíll win most of the time just because our payroll is big,î Detroit manager Jim Leyland said. iWe just left some guys on base and we left a couple pitches up.î
The Tigers stranded 10 runners, including Clete Thomas, who was on third base with only one out in the 11th.
Devil Rays 6, Orioles 2
BALTIMORE ó A whirlwind offseason of change carried over into opening day for Tampa Bay, when the Rays reversed an annoying trend at the expense of the Baltimore Orioles.
James Shields pitched seven innings of five-hit ball and Eric Hinske homered as the Rays coasted to a victory.
Since its inception in 1998, Tampa Bay was 1-9 in road openers, including a seven-game skid that was the longest active run in the big leagues. But things are different this year, beginning with the teamís nickname ó no longer are they the Devil Rays.
Twins 3, Angels 2
MINNEAPOLIS ó With Torii Hunter watching from the other side, Carlos Gomez made a strong first impression in Minnesota.
Gomez formally replaced Hunter as the center fielder and raced around the bases, giving Livan Hernandez and the Twins enough offense to beat the Los Angeles Angels 3-2 Monday night with a snowstorm swirling outside the Metrodome.
Mariners 5, Rangers 2
SEATTLE ó After Erik Bedard left his Marinersí debut, the Seattle offense woke up.
Adrian Beltre hit a go-ahead groundout in the sixth inning, Jose Lopez had a two-run double in the seventh and the Mariners beat the Texas Ranger s 5-2 in Mondayís opener.