Braves fall to Tigers despite stellar bullpen effort
Combined no-hitter through seven not enough to prevent loss in spring opener
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- Opening their Grapefruit slates on Friday afternoon at Champion Stadium, the Tigers and the Braves dueled on the mound en route to a 2-1 Detroit win.
Back-to-back triples by right-fielder Tyler Collins and left-fielder Jeff Kobernus to lead off the eighth were the Tigers' first hits of the game, and gave them a 1-0 lead. Kobernus scored on second baseman Hernan Perez's sacrifice fly to left to make it 2-0.
A solo shot in the ninth by Joey Terdoslavich was all the Braves could muster on offense.
Braves starting pitcher Tim Hudson cruised through a perfect seven-pitch first inning, and then worked out of a jam to complete his two-inning debut in scoreless fashion. Hudson began the second inning by walking Prince Fielder and hitting Victor Martinez with a pitch. He then got Jhonny Peralta to ground into a double play before Brayan Pena ended the inning with a groundout.
Tigers starting pitcher Rick Porcello proved to be a little more efficient, as he did not issue a walk during his two scoreless innings. Porcello struck out Freddie Freeman to begin the second inning and then completed his perfect debut with a strikeout of Dan Uggla.
Both teams remained hitless until Freddie Freeman opened the bottom of the fifth with a single to right against right-handed reliever Luis Marte. After Freeman was retired on a hit-and-run attempt, Uggla added an infield single off Marte.
Martinez's fourth-inning fly out to center field accounted for the only ball the Tigers hit out of the infield during the first five innings. Detroit was unable to capitalize after Braves closer Craig Kimbrel walked the first two batters he faced in the third inning.
Braves Up Next: Paul Maholm will make his Grapefruit League season debut when the Braves host the Yankees at Champion Stadium on Saturday afternoon at 1:05 p.m. ET. Maholm will be scheduled to complete two innings. The left-hander went 4-5 with a 3.54 ERA in the 11 starts he made after the Braves acquired him from the Cubs just before last year's Trade Deadline.
Tigers Up next: The Tigers start off the home portion of their Grapefruit League schedule on Saturday with a 1:05 p.m. ET game against the Blue Jays at Joker Marchant Stadium. Manager Jim Leyland said he plans on starting his regular-season lineup behind Anibal Sanchez in his first game action of the spring. The game will be broadcast in Detroit on 97.1 FM, and online at MLB Gameday Audio.