DETROIT (AP) – After waiting two weeks for their first win of the season, the Detroit Tigers made sure to celebrate.
Randall Simon drove in three runs and Jose Lima pitched six scoreless innings as Detroit snapped an 11-game skid with a 9-3 win over the Tampa Bay Devil Rays last night.
With the crowd standing and chanting “Let’s go Tigers,” Juan Acevedo pitched a scoreless ninth to end it.
After he got Brent Abernathy on a comebacker after the final out, Dmitri Young jumped in Acevedo’s arms and began to gyrate.
“I knew if I was involved with the last out, I was going to do something special, something stupid,” Young said with an ear-to-ear smile while opening a can of beer. “It feels great to get that first win out of the way.
It’s just too bad we won’t be in the national spotlight anymore because I think this team is capable of playing some good ball.”
It was the first win for manager Luis Pujols, who replaced Phil Garner after six games.
While Young and Acevedo – nearly 500 pounds of them – were hugging and dancing near first base, Pujols was engulfed in several embraces near the mound as the crowd of 13,256 cheered wildly.
“They hugged me, so I have no choice but to hug them back,” Pujols said. “It made me feel very good. They were playing hard to get the first win out of the way.”
Tampa Bay swept the Tigers to begin Detroit’s 0-11 start.
Only four major league teams since 1900 started worse: The 1920 Tigers and the 1904 Washington Senators began 0-13, the 1997 Chicago Cubs lost their first 14 games, and the 1988 Baltimore Orioles set the record with an 0-21 start.
“With the chemistry this team has, we are capable of winning 12 or 13 in a row just as easy as we lost them,” shortstop Shane Halter said.
Simon’s solo homer in the fourth gave Detroit a 2-0 lead and his two-run single began a five-run sixth, which made it 7-0 and prompted the crowd to give a standing ovation.
“It’s a great feeling because we’ve been looking for it,” Simon said. “It seems like a couple years.”
Lima (1-2) gave up five hits and two walks while striking out four. He had given up 10 runs in 6.2 innings this season, including four runs in two innings of a 9-2 loss at Tampa Bay on April 4, and had lost seven of his last eight starts.
“I’m happy that we were able to stop the bleeding,” Lima said.
Delvin James lost in his major league debut after giving up two runs and five hits in five innings. James, called up from Triple-A Durham on Monday, apparently wasn’t following the Tigers’ saga.
“I had no idea they hadn’t won a game,” James said. “I knew they had started the season off with a bunch of losses, but I thought they must have won by now.”
James was relieved by Steve Kent, who faced just four batters and gave up four runs on three hits and a walk.