Detroit, MI – Miguel Cabrera hit a leadoff double in the eighth, Prince Fielder followed with a go-ahead RBI single and the undefeated Tigers bested the Rays, 5-2, in the opener of a three-game series.
Jhonny Peralta and Gerald Laird added an RBI apiece in the eighth and Austin Jackson hit a solo homer for the Tigers, who, at 4-0, are off to their best start since winning five straight to start the 2006 season.
Phil Coke (1-0) tossed a scoreless eighth for the win and Jose Valverde picked up his first save of the season with a perfect ninth. Rick Porcello allowed two runs on seven hits with four strikeouts over a seven-inning start.
Tampa Bay began the season with a three-game sweep of the Yankees and was in search of its best start in franchise history. Instead, Jake McGee (0-1) allowed two runs in one-third of an inning to suffer the loss.
Desmond Jennings went 2-for-4 with and RBI in the setback and rookie Matt Moore surrendered two runs on four hits and five walks in 6 2/3 innings.
Jackson tied the game, 2-2, in the bottom of the seventh, belting Moore's 3-2, two-out fastball into the seats in left. McGee recorded the final out in the inning, but was pulled after Cabrera began the eighth with a deep fly off the right-center field wall and Fielder followed with a single up the middle.
Insurance came in the form of Peralta's sacrifice fly and Laird's RBI single later in the frame.
"We just play the games," Detroit manager Jim Leyland said of his team's hot start. "We don't get caught up in anything except for tomorrow's game."
The Tigers were coming off of a sweep of the Red Sox and were tied with the Rays after both teams scored a run in the third.
Tampa Bay took the early lead when Porcello issued a bases-loaded walk to Evan Longoria, but Moore tossed a wild pitch with two down and Cabrera at the plate in the home half, allowing Jackson to score.
Jose Molina made it 2-1 in the top of the seventh, hitting a ground-rule double, advancing to third on a groundout and scoring on Jennings' two-out, infield single.
The Tigers have won eight of their last nine meetings with the Rays dating back to August 11, 2010...Tampa Bay also opened the 2002 season with three straight wins...The Tigers were 2-for-5 with runners in scoring position, while the Rays were 1-for-4 and left six runners on base.