Opening Day recap: Tigers hold on, 3-2, thanks to Miguel Cabrera's bat, glove; Matthew Boyd shines

Tony Paul
The Detroit News

Welcome back, baseball fans.

The Tigers kicked off their 2021 season today at Comerica Park, against the Cleveland Indians. And for the first time since September 2019, there are fans in the stands.

Tony Paul and Detroit News staff provided updates throughout the game.

A Welcome Home banner hangs inside the gate at Adams Street.

Tigers win, 3-2

Opening Day 2021 is in the books. And the books look pretty good for the Tigers.

The Tigers beat the Cleveland Indians, 3-2, on Thursday at Comerica Park, on a chilly but heartwarming day for 8,000 fans who got to see in-person Tigers baseball for the first time since 2019.

Miguel Cabrera hit a two-run homer in the first inning, the 488th homer of his career, and JaCoby Jones added an RBI double in the second off Indians ace Shane Bieber.

Things got dicey in the ninth, when Tigers closer Gregory Soto gave up a two-run homer to Roberto Perez. But Soto got the last two outs, sandwiched around a two-out walk, for the first save of 2021.

The Tigers got scoreless pitching from starter Matthew Boyd, who allowed three hits in 5.2 innings, and Jose Cisnero and Daniel Norris.

The Tigers were denied their 11th Opening Day shutout, but improved to 68-52-1 on Opening Day. They've won 11 of their last 13 openers.

The Tigers and Indians are back at it Saturday, at 1:10 p.m.

Boyd getting it done

Cleveland's Shane Bieber may be dominating. But Matthew Boyd is winning.

Boyd, the Tigers' left-hander, has kept the Indians scoreless through four innings — thanks to some fine defense by first baseman Miguel Cabera.

The Indians got two runners on with one out in the fourth inning, when Josh Naylor hit a shot that looked like it was heading to right field for an RBI single. But Cabrera, the Tigers' DH getting the start at first on Opening Day, went diving to his right, snagged it and threw to second for the fielder's choice out. Boyd then got Yu Chang to pop out to catcher Wilson Ramos for the final out of the inning.

Boyd went 5.2 scoreless innings, allowing three hits and four walks, while striking out.

Through six, Bieber had 12 strikeouts, but gave up a two-run homer to Cabrera in the first, and an RBI double to JaCoby Jones in the second. The Tigers led, 3-0, through six.

More: Tigers CEO Chris Ilitch: We want more fans, but state, science will decide when

Cabrera goes deep

Well, that's one way to start the season.

Miguel Cabrera hit a home run in the bottom of the first inning, giving the Tigers a 2-0 . Cabrera took Shane Bieber's pitch to right field. And because it was hit in a pseudo blizzard, Cabrera actually slid into second base not certain that the ball had left the yard.

The umpires reviewed, and confirmed it was a homer. It was Cabrera's first on Opening Day since 2008.

It was Cabrera's 488th homer. He is looking to reach 500 homers and 3,000 hits this season.

The Tigers made it 3-0 in the second inning on a JaCoby Jones RBI double. Victor Reyes, who reached on a strikeout and a wild pitch, scored 

Paying tribute

Pregame ceremonies on Opening Day are always a sight to see. The pageantry is impressive. But the Tigers took it to a whole new level today, paying tribute to those we've lost, and those who've helped keep us safe.

The Tigers, in a video montage, memorialized Tigers fans we've lost to COVID-19 in the last year, while Angels Davis sang "Amazing Grace."

Then, they honored some area first responders, before Buck Farmer took the microphone to thank the first repsonders, as well as the some 8,200 fans in attendance.

"Just want to welcome y'all back to watch us place, and we thank you for the love and the support you always show us," Farmer said. "Get this season started off right. Go Tigers!"

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