MINNEAPOLIS -- The Detroit Tigers scored three runs in the first two innings on a frigid Opening Day and that was all ace Justin Verlander needed. Verlander pitched five scoreless innings in the Tigers' 4-2 win on Monday at Target Field, giving up three hits and two walks while striking out seven before he exited. "It was his first start of the year," Tigers manager Jim Leyland said. "He had 91 pitches. If you let him start the next inning, he's really not a quick-out guy, and 100 was going to be the max, so I just decided that was enough. It worked out pretty good for us. "We just came from 80 degree weather to 30-some degree weather, so 91 pitches -- that' enough." The Tigers scored two runs on three hits in the first inning. Austin Jackson led off with a single to right-center field and came around to score on a fielder's choice groundout by Miguel Cabrera. Prince Fielder then doubled down the left-field line to score Cabrera. Omar Infante added an RBI single for the Tigers in the second. Verlander and the Tigers' pitching staff befuddled the Twins. Leadoff hitter Aaron Hicks went 0 for 4 and struck out three times in his major-league debut. Verlander struck out Josh Willingham three times. Verlander kept the Twins hitless until Joe Mauer doubled into the left-field corner in the third. "That's one of the best pitchers, so getting off the get-go with Verlander is kind of exciting," Hicks said. "But at the same time, you start to understand why he is so good." Twins starter Vance Worley (six innings, eight hits, three earned runs) settled down after a rough start and battled his way out of several tight spots. Worley put together three scoreless innings to keep the Twins in the game. "It was just a matter of getting comfortable out there," Worley said. Detroit relievers Al Alburquerque and Joaquin Benoit combined for two scoreless innings before Phil Coke closed it out, getting the save and the final two outs in the ninth. "The (Twins) were pretty stingy when they had to be," Leyland said. "I thought Worley did a good job. We've heard so much about him being a competitor and we could see that today. He competes his fanny off and he did a good job for them." The Twins scored on a wild pitch in the sixth and a bases-loaded single by Ryan Doumit in the seventh. Both runs were charged to Tigers left-hander Drew Smyly. But Minnesota couldn't get enough clutch hits. "We had some good things happen for us out there. It was a fun ballgame," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. "Unfortunately, we didn't come up with one more big hit." NOTES: The game-time temperature was not the coldest in Twins history. The coolest was May 5, 1967, when the temperature dropped to 32 degrees at Metropolitan Stadium in a 13-4 win over New York Yankees. ... Tigers right fielder Torii Hunter, a former Twins player, went 2 for 5 in his Detroit debut. He needs 12 hits to reach 2,000 for his career. He is aiming to become the 14th active major-leaguer to reach that milestone. ... The Twins had three doubles in the game (Mauer, Justin Morneau and Trevor Plouffe), but they scored only one run off of them. ... The Twins finished the 1 for 9 with runners in scoring position; the Tigers were 2 for 12.
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