LAKELAND, Fla. -- The Tigers needed 11 innings to put up their first run of Grapefruit League play at remodeled Publix Field at Joker Marchant Stadium. Once they finally crossed the plate they kept swinging for the fences, hitting three consecutive home runs off Astros reliever Edison Frias in the
LAKELAND, Fla. -- The Tigers needed 11 innings to put up their first run of Grapefruit League play at remodeled Publix Field at Joker Marchant Stadium. Once they finally crossed the plate they kept swinging for the fences, hitting three consecutive home runs off Astros reliever Edison Frias in the third inning Saturday during Detroit's 11-4 win.
None of those home runs came from Jose Cabrera, who was hit by Frias' next pitch after the three home runs. Cabrera was unharmed, but Frias was ejected by home-plate umpire Hunter Wendelstedt.
The Tigers, shut out by Baltimore in their official spring opener on Friday, went scoreless in two innings against Houston starter Brad Peacock. Frias, a right-handed prospect, opened the third inning by walking Juan Perez before Andrew Romine lofted a shot out to right that carried into the Tigers' bullpen.
Ian Kinsler followed with a solo homer before Victor Martinez -- batting second early this spring to sneak in extra at-bats before he leaves for the World Baseball Classic -- sent a no-doubt drive down the right-field line. Frias' next delivery went up and in on Cabrera, who looked like he was hit on the arm as he dove to the ground. Cabrera put up his hand to indicate he was OK and wasn't upset, but Wendelstedt had already made the motion to toss Frias.
"There had been three home runs and the ball was up and in," Tigers manager Brad Ausmus said. "A lot of times, the umpire's focused on the ball and doesn't always necessarily know what the pitch is. That was his gut. My guess is if he did it again, he'd probably just give him a warning, but you'd have to ask him."
Cabrera did not think it was intentional.
"He does what he needs to do to get ready," Cabrera said. "I do what I need to do to get ready. Not my business."
Still, players were at the top of the dugout just in case. Starting pitcher Justin Verlander was already out of the game, but dashed out from the clubhouse.
"I ran out there," Verlander said. "Because it's just reactionary, right? You see homer, homer, homer, then Miggy get hit by a pitch. I ran out there just in case. With my cutoff shirt, I'm sure I was very intimidating."
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.