Jordan Tata had a night to remember on Monday in Oakland. The former Sam Houston State pitcher made his major league debut against the A’s and notched a victory with a 5-2 for the Detroit Tigers.
Tata, brought up to take the injured Kenny Rogers’ spot in Detroit’s rotation, allowed two runs and six hits over seven innings in his first major league start, following eight relief appearances last year. A 16th-round draft pick in 2003, Tata walked two and struck out five, including Nick Swisher three times.
“I’ve always started and I’ve always wanted to start. Last year was something completely out of the blue,” Tata said in an interview with the associated press. “I felt like I had a free pass last year. This time it was a process of working myself back and getting to this point. I feel like I really earned it this time. I can sleep easy knowing I did my part in the minor leagues to get here.”
Tata (1-0) became the first Tigers’ starter to win a game since Andrew Miller beat Minnesota on July 18. Chad Durbin pitched the eighth and Todd Jones worked the ninth for his 28th save in 33 chances.
“He really came through big for us tonight,” Tigers manager Jim Leyland said of Tata. “He looked like a starting pitcher tonight.”
Jones also provided the obligatory shaving cream in the face treatment on Tata during a postgame interview.
Tata had been pitching for the Toledo Mud Hens, a AAA affiliate of the Tigers, and prior to his call up, compiled a 3-3 record with a 3.29 ERA.
Tata looks to get one more start with the Tigers before returning to Toledo. He is scheduled to toe the rubber again Sunday at home against the White Sox.
“I was channeling what a lot of minor-league pitching coaches have told me,” Tata said. “They’d say that having a shutdown inning after your team scores is the biggest inning of the game. That’s how you keep the momentum, which is a huge in a nine-inning game. You’ve really got to bear down in those innings.”