LAKELAND, Fla. (AP) Detroit Tigers starter David Price said he felt good on the mound.
His team’s offense made him feel even better.
Price went 6 2-3 innings in a 6-4 win over the Baltimore Orioles on Thursday and said that he is excited about the Tigers, who came out slugging with most of their opening day lineup on the field.
The heart of the Tigers order – Miguel Cabrera, Victor Martinez and Yoenis Cespedes – homered behind Price.
For Martinez and Cabrera, it was their first homers of the spring. Both played their first spring games last weekend. Martinez and Cabrera combined for 57 homers last season and Cespedes had 22 for Oakland and Boston.
Cabrera raised his spring batting average to .400 and added three more RBIs.
”When you have guys like that hitting behind you every day, it definitely makes you feel good,” Price said. ”Those guys can hit.”
Price allowed three hits and struck out seven. His only disappointment was that he didn’t get to go seven innings. He was pulled with two outs in the seventh with no one on base.
”I really wanted to put up seven zeroes today,” Price said. ”I felt good. It’s great to get three quick outs and then go sit in the dugout for a while.”
Chris Tillman started for the Orioles and went 5 1-3 innings, allowing two runs. Jayson Nix homered for the Orioles.
Baltimore rallied in the fourth to take a 3-2 lead, but the Tigers came back and retook the lead on Martinez’s home run.
ORIOLES: Manager Buck Showalter wanted to stretch out Tillman and was happy with the results.
”Good, wanted to get him up for the sixth inning,” Showalter said. ”This is a night where he could have gone seven or eight, I think. Efficient with his pitches, he was good. Balls were flying out of here. Of course, a couple of them were legit.”
Showalter said he could have kept Tillman back a day, but he knew the Tigers were bringing their main lineup.
”That’s one reason we brought him over here, he said. ”I couldn’t imagine anything else Tilly could do to make us think he’s ready to start the year. It’s not that far away now. He will.”
Tillman was pleased with his effort against the Tigers.
”Probably the best lineup you’re going to see during the season,” he said. ”They’re deep, they squared up a lot of balls today and they also hit some soft balls, too. It was kind of mixed, kind of evened itself out both ways and it was good to face a lineup like that for sure.”
ORIOLES: Bud Norris will start in Sarasota on Friday against the Tampa Bay Rays.
TIGERS: Justin Verlander will start on Friday against the Toronto Blue Jays. Both Price and Verlander each have one more start after Friday in Grapefruit League play.
ORIOLES: Catcher Matt Wieters will stay in Florida when Baltimore leaves in two weeks. Wieters, who will begin the season on the 15-day disabled list, is still recovering from Tommy John surgery. After accompanying the Orioles to their first three games at Tampa Bay, Wieters will go to Sarasota for extended spring training. He’ll return to Baltimore for a rehab assignment with Double-A Bowie and Class A Frederick. Showalter isn’t setting a date for his return.
”I’ve got an idea of what he’s targeted, but I’m not going to throw that date out there,” Showalter said. ”I want to encourage him. I think he feels good about where he is.”
Second baseman Jonathan Schoop expects to play on Friday, two days after he had two teeth removed. … Outfielder David Lough (back spasms) should be able to return on Friday. … C J.P. Arencibia suffered a strained flexor on Thursday in a Triple-A game.
TIGERS: Cabrera and Martinez are expected to sit out Friday’s game in Dunedin. They have played three straight days after coming off injuries. … Shortstop Jose Iglesias played his third straight game after missing last season with stress fractures in both shins. He went 0 for 2 and is batting .086 on the spring. … Reliever Joe Nathan suffered a cut right thumb that caused bleeding. He is day to day. … Victor Martinez is still suffering soreness from his neck injury and manager Brad Ausmus said he wasn’t too concerned.
”He hit that home run,” Ausmus said. ”I love it when he doesn’t have to run.”
CLOSING IN ON A CLOSER:
TIGERS: Ausmus didn’t answer when asked if he had settled on a closer, but gave a small nod without giving a name. Nathan gave up a homer during his one inning, but Joakim Soria stretched his spring scoreless streak to seven with another shutout inning.
”Soria has been lights-out,” Ausmus said. ”He’s making great pitches and he just a real professional. The Joakim Soria of last year is not the real Joakim Soria.”
Soria joined the Tigers midway through last season in a deal with the Texas Rangers.