Thoughts on Game 2 of 162 for the Tigers

Brad Penny’s first start for the Tigers was definitely not one to savor.

Roughed up: Brad Penny gave up eight earned runs in 4 1/3 innings in his Tigers debut on Saturday. (AP)

The veteran right-hander who inked a one-year deal with the Tigers in the offseason gave up three runs in each the first and second innings to put Detroit in a hole it never quite recovered from in Saturday’s loss to the Yankees. His defense did help his case in the opening inning with Jhonny Peralta and Will Rhymes not being able to come up with a couple of tough plays. In the second he served up a three-run homer to Mark Teixeira (his second in as many games) to put the Yankees well in control.

Penny’s final line – 4 1/3 innings pitched, seven hits, eight earned runs, four walks and three strikeouts. Penny, who wasn’t terrible during the spring, will definitely need to rebound in his next start against Baltimore on Thursday.

Key stretch: The fifth inning definitely was the key sequence in the contest. The Tigers had showed some fight and had scored two runs in the top half to cut the Yankees lead to 6-3. They had runners on second and third with two outs and Magglio Ordonez at the plate. Yankee starter ended up striking out Ordonez to get out of the inning. Also not to be lost is Will Rhymes was up with the bases loaded prior to Ordonez and grounded out to first base.  In the bottom half of the fifth, Russell Martin clubbed a three-run homer off reliever Brad Thomas to put the Yankees back in control.

The bright side: Austin Jackson hit a solo homer to left field on a 3-2 pitch to start the Tigers scoring on Saturday. A very good sign, considering the second-year center fielder hit just four homers during his rookie campaign. If someone would have asked you who would be the first Tiger to homer this season, Jackson wouldn’t have been my choice. While he homered, Jackson also did strikeout twice on Saturday and has fanned five times over the first two games.

New addition Victor Martinez also hit a two-run homer and went 2 for 4. Him and Inge were the only Tigers with multiple hits.

Hitting on all cylinders: The starting top four hitters in the Yankees’ lineup (Brett Gardner, Derek Jeter, Teixeira and Alex Rodriguez) went a combined 7 for 16 and drove in seven of New York’s 10 runs. Those same slots in the Tigers lineup (Jackson, Rhymes, Ordonez and Miguel Cabrera) went 2 for 15.

Debuts: Besides Penny, Joaquin Benoit (signed as a free agent from Tampa Bay) and rookie Brayan Villarreal each made their Tigers debuts on Saturday. Benoit pitched a scoreless inning of relief while Villarreal pitched the sixth inning and gave up a solo homer to Alex Rodriguez. In his inning of work, Villarreal gave up just the one run and two hits.

Up next: At Yankees, 1 p.m. Sunday in series finale