E-Rod, Vierling power Tigers to Game 1 win

April 29th, 2023

DETROIT -- wasn’t perfect by any stretch against the Orioles this time, not even on his first pitch. But unlike last time out, he was victorious. His 5 2/3 innings of one-run ball protected an early Tigers offensive outburst for a 7-4 win in Game 1 of a Saturday doubleheader at Comerica Park.

Rodriguez faced a tall task trying to follow up his previous outing on Sunday in Baltimore, where he didn’t allow the O’s a baserunner for the first 6 2/3 innings. He finished that outing with a lone hit over seven scoreless innings but took a no-decision in an eventual Detroit defeat.

Austin Hays quashed any thoughts of a Rodriguez repeat by driving his first pitch down the left-field line for a leadoff double, but Rodriguez settled in from there. Former Tiger James McCann’s second-inning solo homer ended Rodriguez’s scoreless streak at 18 innings, and Hays’ leadoff walk in third was Rodriguez’s first free pass in 19 innings. But neither led to a sustained rally against the lefty, who improved to 14-5 with a 2.74 ERA for his career against the organization that signed him as a teenager out of Venezuela in 2010.

Rodriguez had the leverage of Detroit’s best opening inning of the year behind him. The Tigers scored as many runs in the first inning off O’s starter Dean Kremer -- three -- as they had scored in the opening frame all season. had a two-out, two-run single, and he added a two-out RBI double in the third inning. singled home a run in the second.

Kremer, facing the Tigers for the first time in his career, finished with a career-high 11 hits allowed to go with five runs in as many innings.

Jorge Mateo’s three-run homer off brought the Orioles back to life in the eighth inning, but -- called up from Triple-A Toledo to serve as Detroit’s 27th man for the doubleheader -- added a 418-foot solo homer in the bottom half of the inning to complete a three-hit performance that included several solid defensive plays.