Fielder, who signed a $214 million, nine-year deal with the Tigers in the offseason, pulled a 3-2 pitch past second base his first time up for a single.
"That always helps - getting a hit the first at-bat," Fielder said. "Whenever you can get that out of the way, you can relax a little bit."
Detroit put its leadoff man on base four times in the first five innings, but Lester managed to induce double plays in the first and second.
Tigers slugger Miguel Cabrera moved from first base to third to make room for Fielder. His day at the hot corner was uneventful until the sixth, when he lost his balance while catching Jacoby Ellsbury's foul pop and fell into a backward somersault.
Cabrera held onto the ball and came up smiling, but Dustin Pedroia followed with a sharp grounder to third that he misplayed for an error. Verlander struck out Ortiz with two on to end that threat.
Fielder hit into a double play of his own in the sixth.
Verlander began the game by getting Ellsbury to hit a weak flyball to left in a matchup of the top two vote-getters in last year's AL MVP race. According to STATS LLC, it was the first time the top two MVP finishers faced each other in a pitcher-batter matchup the following season since 1999 honoree Ivan Rodriguez struck out against Pedro Martinez on April 25, 2000.
Verlander allowed Ortiz's double in the second, then retired 10 in a row. He caught Cody Ross looking in the second with a vintage breaking ball that left the Boston hitter dropping his bat and walking away even before plate umpire Dale Scott finished calling him out on strikes.
NOTES: It was Valverde's first blown save since Sept. 2, 2010, against Minnesota. ... The Tigers reported 45,027 tickets sold, an opening day record for Comerica Park. ... The temperature at game time was 43 degrees. ... Francona was at the game as an analyst for ESPN. ... It was the 12th time Verlander pitched at least eight innings without allowing a run, and only the second time he did that and didn't get a win, according to STATS. ... Detroit RHP Doug Fister will face Boston RHP Josh Beckett when the teams play again Saturday.
ATLANTA (AP) - Matt Harvey pitched six hitless innings, John Buck homered and the New York Mets held off another Atlanta comeback, beating the Braves 4-3 Tuesday in the first game of a doubleheader.
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