Tigers top Bucs with Miggy's homer, Smyly's start
LAKELAND, Fla. -- Miguel Cabrera bid farewell to camp on his way to the World Baseball Classic with a two-run homer, supporting Drew Smyly's three perfect innings, and Detroit's split-squad home team took a 4-1 win over the Pirates on Saturday at Joker Marchant Stadium.
Cabrera said earlier in the week that he was trying to round his game into shape quickly so that he would be ready when he left for Venezuela's camp. Saturday's effort was a pretty good sign, from his third home run of the spring to a pair of diving stops at third base.
With winds gusting toward right field, Cabrera's opposite-field power wasn't likely to be contained. Once he skied a first-pitch offering from Pirates starter Jeanmar Gomez, the ball kept carrying toward the back of the Tigers' bullpen beyond right field.
The homer was one of two runs scored by Austin Jackson, who led off the game with a single before Rule 5 pick Jeff Kobernus tripled him in with a drive to the fence in left-center field. Cabrera plated Kobernus with a groundout to short.
Gomez gave up four runs on three hits and three walks in three innings.
Smyly continued his bid for the fifth spot in the Tigers' rotation by retiring the Pirates' lineup in order, though the Pirates did not bring such stars as Andrew McCutchen or Neil Walker on the trip. Smyly struck out two and changed speeds effectively along the way to 47 pitches, 29 of them for strikes.
Starling Marte broke up Detroit's perfect outing with a well-placed bunt rolling down the third-base line leading off the fourth inning. The ball left Cabrera, pitcher Octavio Dotel and catcher Alex Avila all watching, and Marte advanced to first base without a throw.
Up next: Max Scherzer will make his first Spring Training start of the year on Sunday as the Tigers hit the road for a 1:05 p.m. ET game against the Braves at Disney's Wide World of Sports complex, their second visit already this spring. Doug Fister is also scheduled to pitch, along with closer candidate Bruce Rondon. Mike Minor is scheduled to start for the Braves. The game will be broadcast on AM 1270 in Detroit and MLB.com Gameday Audio.