DETROIT -- Ronny Rodriguez had a memorable major league debut, hitting singles, scoring a run and making plays at second and third base to help the Detroit Tigers beat the Los Angeles Angels 6-2 Thursday.
"Amazing day," Rodriguez said in front of his locker stall under a generic name plate and next to his suitcase. "I've been waiting for this the last eight years. It's a dream come true."
The Tigers called the 26-year-old Dominican infielder on Wednesday night after he hit for the cycle, playing for the Triple-A Toledo Mud Hens at Syracuse.
He woke up at 4 a.m. Thursday in New York to fly to Detroit, where his mother and girlfriend were among his fans in the stands.
"He won't ever forget it," Tigers manager Ron Gardenhire said.
Victor Reyes hit a three-run triple in the five-run first, and the Rule 5 draft pick from Arizona had his first multihit game. He entered the game hitting just .139 while playing sparingly.
"I've got to get him more at-bats," Gardenhire said.
Detroit starter Ryan Carpenter was on pace to pick up his first career victory, but left the game after four innings with an oblique strain and was sent to the disabled list after the game.
Warwick Saupold (3-1) replaced Carpenter and pitched two perfect innings. Carpenter gave up one run and five hits.
Andrew Heaney (2-4) allowed five runs and eight hits over five innings. He had given up a total of six runs over his previous six starts.
"They punched me in the mouth, and it took me too long to make adjustments," Heaney said. "They know I like to attack the strike zone, and they were really aggressive early in the count."
The Tigers set themselves up to win the four-game series by roughing up Heaney in the first inning.
"Gardy has all those guys playing hard, which has always been a trademark of his clubs," manager Mike Scioscia said. "They do things right. They're fundamentally sound. For any young player to be in that environment, you're going to reap some benefits from it down the road."
TOO LITTLE, TOO LATE
"We got some guys on base, but we were never able to do anything about it," Sciosica said. "Give them a lot of credit because they didn't give us many great looks when we had men on base."
WHAT'S GOOD FOR THE GOOSE
The Tigers had a goose decoy in their dugout and Dr. Catherine Roach to throw out the ceremonial first pitch . The veterinarian helped a real goose get out of the ballpark safely during a game the previous night.
STICKING TO THE PLAN
Shohei Ohtani was not used as a hitter in the series finale, following the Angels' plan to usually let him rest the day before or after he pitches. He allowed one run and three hits in five innings Wednesday night.
"We're trying to err on the side of caution," Sciosica said.
Angels: Zack Cozart (forearm tightness) was a late scratch from the lineup on Wednesday and Sciosica said the infielder felt a little better Thursday morning.
"I hope it's not serious," Sciosica said.
RHP Blake Wood, who had elbow surgery Wednesday, is expected to be out for 12 to 14 months.
Tigers: Slugger Miguel Cabrera may play Friday night at home against Toronto after missing nearly a month with a strained right hamstring.
"There's a good chance he'll be activated," Gardenhire said.
BEHIND THE PLATE
Home plate umpire Marty Foster's facemask was hit by a foul ball in the third inning, stunning him and sending him to a knee. After being evaluated on the field and staying in the game, he walked off the field and toward the umpires' dressing room a few innings later. Greg Gibson went from second base to working behind the plate.
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