No matter what unfolds in the second game of the season between Pittsburgh and Detroit, it will be nearly impossible to equal the drama and craziness of their Opening Day matchup.
Gregory Polanco smashed a three-run homer in the 13th inning, allowing the Pirates to pull out a wild 13-10 victory on Friday afternoon. Polanco finished 3-for-5 with four RBIs and three runs scored in the dramatic win. He was one of three Pirates (along with Josh Bell and Adam Frazier) who had three hits in the game.
The second meeting of the three-game series is scheduled for Saturday afternoon, though rain is in the forecast.
Detroit led 6-4 after the seventh inning, allowed six runs the next two innings, then rallied with four ninth-inning runs to tie it at 10.
The Tigers celebrated an apparent victory in the bottom of the 10th when Nick Castellanos was called safe at home on JaCoby Jones' two-out single. After a lengthy replay review, the call was overturned and new Tigers manager Ron Gardenhire was tossed for arguing.
Detroit wound up losing its first home opener since 2008. Gardenhire was so steamed that he didn't show up for the postgame press conference.
"He's pretty upset. That would be understatement," Tigers bench Steve Liddle said. "Hard-fought game. We had it, and didn't have it, thought we had it again and just came up a little bit short there at the end."
"It not only cost us a game, it cost us innings," Liddle said. "It cost the Pirates innings. Even though they got the W, nobody really won after a call like that was overturned with the evidence we saw."
Fulmer, the American League Rookie of the Year in 2016, finished 10-12 with a 3.83 ERA last season. His season ended prematurely because of an elbow injury that required ulnar transposition surgery to reposition the nerve in his pitching elbow.
Fulmer looked sharp in the spring and tossed seven shutout innings against Atlanta in his last outing on Sunday. He'll be facing the Pirates for the first time.
"Six days between starts is optimal right now for me," he told the Detroit News afterward. "I'll get a couple of days to rest and recover, throw a bullpen and then wait two days and pitch. That's what I needed (Sunday) -- seven innings and 91 pitches."
Williams enjoyed one of the best outings of his young career against Detroit last year. He blanked the Tigers for seven innings while allowing just one hit on Aug. 7.
Williams gave up two runs (one earned) and six hits with eight strikeouts in 5 1/3 innings against Minnesota in his longest spring appearance on March 21. He threw 97 pitches that day.
"It was extremely inefficient. That would hit it on the head," Williams told mlb.com. "As far as what we were trying to do, we were trying to get to 100 pitches, and we were trying to get six ups. We did that by pitching into the sixth."
Williams tossed another 2 1/3 innings, giving up four runs (two earned), against Philadelphia in his final spring appearance. The 25-year-old right-hander wound up 8-10 with a 4.38 ERA last season.