By The Sports Xchange
DETROIT — Rookie JaCoby Jones walked on a 3-2 pitch with the bases loaded in the eighth inning to force in the go-ahead run and finish a two-run rally that helped the Detroit Tigers make their home opener a success Friday with a 6-5 victory over the Boston Red Sox.
Mikie Mahtook delivered a pinch-hit a RBI double to left field to tie the score 5-5 with two out in the eighth as the Tigers got to the Red Sox bullpen. Right-hander Heath Hembree (0-1) struck out the first two in the eighth before walking two.
Righty Joe Kelly walked James McCann to load the bases before losing Jones on a full-count pitch. McCann’s two-run home run in the seventh had given the Tigers a 4-0 lead.
Pablo Sandoval hit a three-run, opposite-field home run to left center with two out in the eighth to cap a five-run rally that gave Boston a short-lived 5-4 lead.
Chris Young hit an RBI double and Jackie Bradley Jr. added an RBI single prior to Sandoval creaming an 0-2 pitch from closer Francisco Rodriguez for his first home run of the season and first since 2015.
Rodriguez (1-0) stranded runners at second and third in a scoreless ninth for the win after failing in his bid for a four-out save.
Detroit right-hander Michael Fulmer, making his first start since being named the 2016 American League Rookie of the Year, blanked Boston on four hits over six innings. He walked two and struck out four.
Red Sox knuckleballer Steven Wright was touched for seven hits and four runs in his 6 2/3 frames.
McCann hit his first home run following a leadoff single to right by Tyler Collins in the seventh, putting the Tigers ahead 4-0.
Nick Castellanos tripled with one out in the sixth and Miguel Cabrera was intentionally walked to first with a 2-0 count to set up a possible double play. Victor Martinez then beat a shift with a ground single to left to give the Tigers a 2-0 lead.
Detroit scored in the first after Ian Kinsler singled to center and Castellanos walked. Kinsler took third when Cabrera fouled out to right and scored when Martinez hit a sacrifice fly to left.
NOTES: Detroit held a pre-game ceremony to honor the memory of recently deceased owner Mike Ilitch, raising a ‘Mr. I’ pennant to fly behind the United States flag all season. The Tigers will also wear ‘Mr. I’ patches on the sleeves of their uniforms. … Marco Hernandez started at short in the first of at least three games Boston will be minus SS Xander Bogaerts, who can return from the bereavement list Monday. … Red Sox LHP David Price is scheduled to throw a bullpen session on Monday, the first time he has done so since feeling left elbow pain Feb. 28. He was throwing out to 120 feet during the weekend. … Red Sox Hall of Fame 2B Bobby Doerr turned 99 Friday and is the oldest living Hall of Famer ever.