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Sanchez homers as Yanks slug past Tigers

MLB.com

LAKELAND, Fla. -- Gary Sanchez hit his second home run off Tigers pitching in six days, this one a two-run drive to the left-field berm at Publix Field at Joker Marchant Stadium, as the Yankees powered their way to an 11-1 win over the Tigers on Saturday.

Michael Pineda recovered from an Ian Kinsler single to strike out five consecutive Tigers, four of them swinging at sliders, to complete two scoreless innings in his first start of the spring.

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LAKELAND, Fla. -- Gary Sanchez hit his second home run off Tigers pitching in six days, this one a two-run drive to the left-field berm at Publix Field at Joker Marchant Stadium, as the Yankees powered their way to an 11-1 win over the Tigers on Saturday.

Michael Pineda recovered from an Ian Kinsler single to strike out five consecutive Tigers, four of them swinging at sliders, to complete two scoreless innings in his first start of the spring.

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"Of course it's exciting," Pineda said. "It was my first outing and I feel pretty good. I threw a lot of strikes. I struck out a lot of people. For my first time, it makes me happy, so for now I want to continue working in Spring Training and be ready for the season."

Pineda left with a scoreless game thanks to two innings from Tigers starter Jordan Zimmermann, but the Yankees erupted for five runs off Anibal Sanchez, whose struggles continued in his quest to hold onto a spot on Detroit's pitching staff. Gary Sanchez's big fly followed an Aaron Hicks leadoff walk in the third before Greg Bird singled and scored on Starlin Castro's double.

Hicks added a two-run home run off Anibal Sanchez in the fourth, sending a ball into the right-field party deck for his first homer of the spring.

"I need to continue working on everything, especially on location," Sanchez said. "Right now, I'm not putting the ball down. That's really easy for hitters to make really good contact."

Four runs in the fifth, three of them off Tigers closer Francisco Rodriguez in his first outing of the spring, put the game away.

Omar Infante, vying for a utility role on Detroit's bench, accounted for Detroit's lone run with an RBI double down the right-field line in the fourth.

The Tigers have given up nine or more runs four times in the last six games, including twice to the Yankees. Their pitchers yielded 10 walks Saturday.

"We have to pitch better," manager Brad Ausmus said. "We talked about it today with the whole team. When you throw ball one, ball two, then you go to 3-1, 3-2, then you walk a guy, the defenders are standing out there for 20 minutes every half-inning. They get into the dugout and they're exhausted. They're drained. So not only does the poor pitching allow the other team to score runs, it hurts us offensively because guys are gassed from standing around."

Yankees up next: Masahiro Tanaka will be on the mound for his second start of the spring on Sunday at 1:05 p.m. ET, slated to work three innings as the Yankees host the Pirates at George M. Steinbrenner Field. Right-hander Jameson Taillon is scheduled to start for Pittsburgh in a game that can be seen on MLB.TV.

Tigers up next: Miguel Cabrera will make his final appearance before heading off to the World Baseball Classic when he joins the Tigers on Sunday in Clearwater for a 1:05 p.m. game against the Phillies at Spectrum Field that can be seen on MLB.TV. Cabrera will serve as the designated hitter and bat second. Daniel Norris will make his second start of the spring.

Watch every out-of-market regular-season game live on MLB.TV.

Jason Beck has covered the Tigers for MLB.com since 2002. Read Beck's Blog, follow him on Twitter @beckjason and listen to his podcast.

Bryan Hoch has covered the Yankees for MLB.com since 2007. Follow him on Twitter @bryanhoch and on Facebook.

Michael Pineda, Gary Sanchez, Jordan Zimmermann