By Matt Harding
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Dontrelle's return to Comerica Park didn't start off as planned. D-Train returned as a member of the National League's Arizona Diamondbacks. Willis' first batter, Ryan Raburn, drew a walk. Two batters later, Magglio Ordonez cranked a 2-run home run to deep left-center field. The ball hit off of the base of Comerica's flag pole. However, Willis finished the inning off by striking out two batters.
The second inning of D-Train's return wasn't a whole lot better than the first. Brandon Inge led off the inning with a double. Catcher Alex Avila walked on seven pitches. Then, Danny Worth drove in a run with a double. The damage still wasn't done; Raburn got an RBI on a sacrifice fly to center field. Willis struck out Johnny Damon and Ordonez grounded out to end the inning with the score 4-0 Tigers.
After two shaky innings, Dontrelle showed up in the third inning, seeing only three batters and sitting them down in grand fashion. Willis got Miguel Cabrera to ground out to first base with an ugly swing. He then got Brennan Boesch to strike out swinging. Carlos Guillen finished off the inning with a lazy ground ball out to the shortstop Stephen Drew.
Willis continued to pitch well starting the fourth inning off by getting a ground out and then a fly out. He had retired eight batters in a row until he walked Worth. Still, he finished off the inning by getting another ground out.
After a rousing top half of the fifth inning, where the Diamondbacks scored four runs, tying the game, Willis gave up a run on a sac fly RBI by Don Kelly. Kelly replaced Cabrera who left the game with dizziness. Willis ended the inning soon after by getting a ground ball out followed by a fly out to right field.
Willis exited the game after five innings. He struck out four and walked four. All five runs Willis gave up were earned. The game was 5-4 when he left. The D-Backs, however, scored a run in the top half of the sixth inning, making the score knotted up at five. Dontrelle will get a no decision in his return to Comerica Park.
The Tigers will continue their series against the Diamondbacks on Saturday. Another former Tiger, Edwin Jackson, will face off against Rick Porcello.