Verlander sharp for 3 2/3 innings in spring debut
Allows one hit, strikes out two and walks two; Kelly hits two-run homer
LAKELAND, Fla. -- Justin Verlander showed no signs of rust in his first start of Spring Training, delivering 3 2/3 scoreless innings with two strikeouts before Brad Glenn's home run in the 10th inning sent the Blue Jays to a 3-2 win over the Tigers on Tuesday afternoon at Joker Marchant Stadium.
Verlander was originally scheduled to make his first start last Thursday against the Phillies before rain washed that game out. He finally took the mound Tuesday and threw his first 11 pitches for strikes, 10 of those pitches fastballs, to retire the side on one hit in the opening inning.
Verlander erased a leadoff walk in the second with a caught stealing, then erased a third-inning walk on a double play after changing speeds on Jays leadoff man Jose Reyes. He dropped a curveball on the corner for a called third strike to Anthony Gose, giving him his lone strikeout.
Verlander allowed one hit with two walks and two strikeouts before reaching his pitch limit. He threw 38 of his 52 pitches for strikes, many of them called. A 10-pitch duel with Maicer Izturis leading off the fourth kept him from finishing the inning, even though Izturis flew out.
"I felt good," Verlander said. "Felt great to get back out there, working some batters, throwing my offspeed for strikes, and getting some swings-and-misses. I wasn't perfect, but it was good, in the direction I want to go in."
Verlander pitched with a lead once Don Kelly hit a two-run homer in the second inning off Jays starter Todd Remond. It marked the fifth home run in three games from a Tigers squad that hit just two in its first 11 games.
"I feel good, I feel comfortable," Kelly said. "I really put some good swings on some balls. You really don't worry about the results as long as you put together good at-bats."
Redmond, bidding to take the fifth spot in Toronto's rotation, exercised some damage control, limiting the Tigers to those two runs despite five hits over four innings. He racked up three strikeouts.
Dan Johnson erased Detroit's lead with a two-run homer in a treacherous seventh inning for Joba Chamberlain, who gave up back-to-back two-out walks before inducing a Ryan Goins comebacker. Bruce Rondon scattered two singles in the ninth, but ended Toronto's threat by jamming Steve Tolleson into a double play.
Glenn's first home run of the spring broke the tie against Melvin Mercedes, who paid for a 3-1 fastball that Glenn sent to the left-field berm.
Up next: The Tigers will get their first taste of instant replay and their first live game on MLB Network (also broadcast live on MLB.TV) on Wednesday with their second trip to Tampa, where they'll take on the Yankees in a 1:05 p.m. ET contest at George M. Steinbrenner Field. Anibal Sanchez will pitch there for the second time in six days, followed by Evan Reed, Luke Putkonen, Ian Krol, Jhan Marinez, Luis Marte and Jose Ortega.