KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) -- Jim Leyland, back with the team that signed him in 1963, won his first game as the Detroit Tigers' manager with the help of another old newcomer.
Buster Olney's Blog
Joel Zumaya of the Tigers is an impact-type pitcher, whether he makes that impact this year or next year.
To read more of Buster Olney's blog, and his top 10 observations from Opening Day, click here.
Forty-one-year-old left-hander Kenny Rogers combined with two relievers on a four-hitter, Chris Shelton homered twice and the Tigers gave their 61-year-old manager a 3-1 victory over the Kansas City Royals on Monday.Leyland, who replaced Alan Trammell after last season, acknowledged more than a few jitters as he managed in the major leagues for the first time since he quit the Colorado Rockies in 1999."It's your heart, blowing out of your shirt, that's what it is," Leyland said, putting his hand inside his jersey and flapping it for emphasis. "Nobody's calm in that situation. They may say they are. They may look calm, but their heart's pounding."Carlos Guillen also homered for the Tigers, and Fernando Rodney
got the save in his first game as closer in place of injured Todd Jones.Rogers left Texas after a stormy season in which he was suspended for 13 games after shoving two television cameramen. He gave up one run and three hits in six innings, struck out five and walked none in his first Opening Day victory since 2000."I really try not to get focused in on all the other outside distractions," Rogers said. "I just try to do what I'm capable of doing, make the pitches I'm capable of making and do it at the right time."He faced the minimum nine batters through the first three innings, with a double play wiping out Angel Berroa's third-inning infield single. Rogers gave up a tying, two-out RBI single to Reggie Sanders in the fourth."We couldn't do a lot of things offensively," Royals manager Buddy Bell said, "and the biggest reason was Kenny Rogers."Joel Zumaya made his major-league debut when he relieved Rogers, whose upper back was getting tight, to start the seventh. Zumaya gave up a leadoff walk and Doug Mientkiewicz's two-out single, but he escaped when he got Berroa to ground into a forceout."They said, 'Zumaya, you're in,' and I was like, 'Holy smoke,'" Zumaya said. "I got warmed up as fast as I could, got out there and did what I had to do."Rodney worked a hitless ninth for his 13th career save. Jones, who returned to Detroit during the offseason, aggravated a hamstring injury last weekend and went on the disabled list.
Worst Opening Day Records
Shelton hit two go-ahead solo homers off loser Scott Elarton,
Shelton's first career multihomer game, and finished 3-for-4. Only a leaping grab by second baseman Mark Grudzielanek on Shelton's eighth-inning liner kept him from going 4-for-4.Shelton's drive into the left-field stands in the fourth put the Tigers up 1-0, and he lined a pitch from Elarton just above the fence and just inside the right-field foul pole with two outs in the sixth to make it 2-1."He's a very good hitter. I've faced him quite a bit in the past," Elarton said. "I just didn't make my pitches. I feel like if I can make my pitches, I can get him out."Shelton gave Detroit a multihomer game in the opener for the second straight season. Last year at Comerica Park, Dmitri Young had three homers in the Tigers' 11-2 victory over the Royals."Yeah, that was in the back of my mind a little bit," Shelton said.Guillen's solo homer in the eighth against Andrew Sisco gave Detroit a 3-1 lead.Elarton, Cleveland's No. 5 starter a year ago, gave up two runs and seven hits in 5 2/3 innings.
Royals catcher John Buck will wear No. 14 this season after wearing No. 2 since joining the team in mid-2004. Buck wore No. 14 through the minors in tribute to his late brother, Paul, who was born on April 14. Tony Graffanino, who wore No. 14 for the Royals until being traded away, has since returned to the club and now wears Buck's old No. 2. ... Detroit's Brandon Inge had two hits but was thrown out twice at second -- the second time when he blew an easy steal by sliding too early and coming up short of the bag. ... Kansas City's Elmer Dessens struck out three of his four batters. ... The Tigers are 3-2 against the Royals in openers.