Alex Avila’s two-run homer with two outs in the bottom of the 11th inning gave the Detroit Tigers a wild 13-12 victory over Boston on Sunday, leaving the Red Sox winless in three games under new manager Bobby Valentine.
Detroit trailed 10-7 when Miguel Cabrera tied the game with a three-run shot off Alfredo Aceves in the ninth. Boston then scored twice in the 11th, but Mark Melancon (0-2) could not hold the lead.
Cabrera and Prince Fielder singled, before a wild pitch sent Cabrera to third and Delmon Young’s sacrifice fly cut the margin in half. Avila followed with a drive to right and Cody Ross tried to make a leaping catch, but the ball appeared to hit a gate just above the wall before caroming back onto the field.
Duane Below (2-0) got one out for the win — even though Detroit manager Jim Leyland said he would not be available — and the Tigers completed a three-game sweep in a game that lasted 4 hours, 45 minutes.
Boston are without newly acquired closer Andrew Bailey, who had surgery on his right thumb. Melancon and Aceves are the primary candidates to close in Bailey’s absence and both blew saves on Sunday.
RAYS 3, YANKEES 0
In St Petersburg, Florida, Jeremy Hellickson came within one out of a three-hitter as Tampa Bay beat New York to complete a season-opening sweep and match the best start in club history.
Carlos Pena and Jeff Keppinger homered for Tampa Bay, who also started with three consecutive wins in 2002.
New York are 0-3 for the first time since 1998, when they went on to win 114 games and the World Series.
Celebrating his 25th birthday, Hellickson (1-0) limited the Yankees to three doubles. Last year’s AL Rookie of the Year walked four, struck out four and was one out from his third career complete game and second shutout when he was replaced by Fernando Rodney after 118 pitches.
Pena homered off starter Phil Hughes (0-1) in the third. Another offseason acquisition, Keppinger, hit a solo shot off Boone Logan in the sixth.
In other AL games, it was:
‧ Orioles 3, Twins 1
‧ Royals 7, Angels 3
‧ Indians 4, Blue Jays 3
‧ Rangers 5, White Sox 0
AP, PHOENIX, ARIZONA
Ryan Roberts and Lyle Overbay hit consecutive two-out homers off Matt Cain as the Arizona Diamondbacks tied a franchise record by rallying from six runs down to beat the San Francisco Giants 7-6 on Sunday and sweep the season-opening three-game series.
Giants manager Bruce Bochy was ejected for arguing home plate umpire Mike DiMuro’s call that catcher Buster Posey missed the plate on a forceout, a ruling that allowed what proved to be the winning run to score in the seventh inning.
Posey hit his first home run in nearly a year to help the Giants take a 6-0 lead through three innings.
Wade Miley (1-0) pitched four scoreless innings in relief of starter Josh Collmenter to get the win. Jeremy Affeldt (0-1) allowed two runs while getting just one out.
Niese (1-0) allowed just two balls out of the infield through six innings and retired 15 in a row before walking Dan Uggla leading off the seventh. On the next pitch, Niese’s 99th of the game, Freddie Freeman singled cleanly to right.
Pitching for the first time since the Mets gave him a US$25.5 million, five-year deal, Niese allowed four runs — two earned — and two hits in six-plus innings with seven strikeouts and two walks.