Tigers 6, Marlins 1
When Brandon Inge learned he was batting cleanup Thursday night
for the Detroit Tigers, he reacted with surprised laughter.
Later, he responded with a three-run homer.
”That’s what happens when you put me in the four hole,” Inge
said with mock braggadocio.
His first homer of spring training helped the Tigers beat the
Florida Marlins 6-1. Justin Verlander (2-0) allowed one run in four
innings, and five Detroit relievers pitched one scoreless inning
Inge has only one career at-bat during the regular season in the
cleanup spot, but manager Jim Leyland put him there with several
starters taking the night off.
”He asked me if we were trying,” Leyland said.
When Inge batted with two on and one out in the fifth, he hit a
home run on a 1-2 pitch.
”They always come when you’re not looking for them,” he said.
”I just want to put the ball in play there, because if you do
that, you’ve got a pretty good chance of getting an RBI for your
team. Those are the situations in spring training that are pretty
important. I’ve learned over the years that that’s a scoring
opportunity, and to take it seriously.”
Verlander gave up a run for the first time in three spring
training starts but struck out four and walked none. He pitched at
night for the first since last season and said he liked being under
the lights again.
”It has been awhile,” he said. ”It felt a little more like
the regular season.”
He gave up a run in the fourth on a triple by Hanley Ramirez and
a groundout by Logan Morrison.
”Besides a four- or five-pitch sequence where I lost it, I
thought I was really good,” Verlander said. ”There were a couple
of batters where I lost my rhythm going out of the stretch.”
Scott Sizemore drove in two runs for the Tigers. Sean West
(0-1), pitching for the first time in spring training, went the
first two innings and allowed two runs.