Daily Smoko: Tigers 2 Royals 1

Another day and another walkoff for the Detroit Tigers. Ian Kinsler provided the offense and reigning Cy Young award winner Max Scherzer held the Royals lineup down for eight shutout innings. Staff writer Nick Shlain is clearly the good luck charm.

The Tigers are on pace for… Let's not even go there. No, wait... Shut up, let's go there. The Tigers are on pace for 162 walkoff victories. Seems sustainable. 162 quality starts and zero wins by the starting rotation. 81 blown saves by Joe Nathan and no strikeouts by any reliever (and #NoJobas). Whatever, we're all going to live forever because Tigers walkoff wins will sustains us like sandwiches. Delicious, delicious sandwiches. Royales with cheese.

Unless Ian Kinsler wants one without cheese. Who knows, he might keep kosher. Either way, he can have whatever he wants after carrying the Tigers offense in his second game with Detroit. He can name my firstborn child and fantasy football team next year (because, yes, those things are of equal importance). In the bottom of the fourth, he crushed a thigh high curveball from Jason Vargas 396 feet to left center for a home run. In the 10th, he smashed a single and Austin Jackson scored from second to seal a 2-1 victory.

Kinsler didn't act alone as he had a lot of help from Max Scherzer, who settled in very nicely after a rocky first inning (more on that later). Maxwell was up to his old tricks, chucking low-to-mid-90's heat to get ahead of hitters before putting them away with an array of offspeed stuff. His curveball was particularly crispy as seven of his nine curves went for strikes. Scherzer's best pitch of the day (or at least my favorite) was the back up 3-2 slider inside that froze Lorenzo Cain in the 8th. In all, we got eight shutout innings, seven strikeouts with just four hits and a walk allowed. Not bad for your first start of the season, Ace. That thing you're doing with the WHIP below 1.00, keep doing it.

Notes:

-It really was a rocky first for Max. He walked Norichika Aoki on five pitches to start the game and hit the backstop with his second pitch. Omar Infante followed with a single and right away the Royals had a scoring chance. Max got Billy Butler to swing at a 3-0 fastball low and away and he promptly grounded into a 6-4-3 double play. Looking back now, that was a really important at-bat. Nice recover, Maxwell.

-Our hero Kinsler also set the Tigers up with first and second and no outs after a single in the sixth, but Detroit failed to capitalize even after Brad Ausmus won a challenge that reversed a would be Tyler Collins double play into a mere fielder's choice. Miguel Cabrera grounded weakly to third base and Alex Gonzalez was dead meat at home. Oh, well.

-It was a hairy, scary ninth inning for Joe Nathan. It was sca-hairy, I guess you could say. Even the outs were hit sort of hard. Are we sure he's not still pitching for the Twins? Does he think he's dreaming? Someone pinch Mr. Nathan and tell him to stop balking and reaching with his bare hand for line drives. That was really scary.

-Alex Gordon hit a fly ball just foul in the fifth that was pretty close to being a home run. Not challenge worthy close, but enough to scare everyone in the park off the bat. He ended up with a broken bat single. Way to keep him in the park, Maxy.

-Tyler Collins hit second in the order. No, really, he did. You can look it up. Tyler Collins? Nice diving catch in the second inning I guess (thought he looked awkward on almost every play in the field), but I'm not sure why the guy who hit .240 and struck out 122 times at Double-A last year is hitting between Kinsler and Cabrera on day two of the season. I'm not buying his reverse minor league splits as justification, that's silliness. If Ausmus wants to come over for Yom Kippur now he'll have to bring Kinsler.

-During batting practice I overheard Miguel Cabrera call Aoki "Norichikii" and that's how everyone should refer to him from now on.

-The Tigers became the first team to win two challengers in one game. The Collins fielder's choice and a ground out by Norichikii that was originally ruled safe at first. Norichikii stepped on Miguel's foot. That wasn't nice. He should be out just for that. Good on Ausmus, though, he's still undefeated.

-What else happened? Ned Yost emptied his bench and it never really worked out. He pinch ran for Salvador Perez with Jarrod Dyston after a leadoff double in the 8th and he was stranded. That meant Brett Hayes would come up with men in scoring position and two outs in the top of the ninth. Well played, Yosty.

Poor Tim Collins, how can you not like that guy? The leadoff walk to Austin Jackson came back to haunt him. Tough game, this baseball.

That about does it, hopefully we see some baseball in the next couple of days. The weather does not look good.

About the Daily Smoko: Smoko is an Australian and New Zealand term for a short cigarette break during work. It can also describe a short coffee or tea break. I’m not here to advocate for or against smoking really, I just want to honor Jim Leyland and have you guys read my recaps while you should probably be working.

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