Lee sharp in last outing, but bats quiet vs. Verlander
Left-hander allows one run on six hits over five strong innings against Tigers
CLEARWATER, Fla. -- Opening Day starters Justin Verlander and Cliff Lee engaged in a pitching duel on Wednesday afternoon, and the visiting Tigers edged the Phillies, 1-0, in a Grapefruit League game at Bright House Field.
Verlander put the finishing touches on a stellar spring in which he did not allow a run over 20 innings. He surrendered just one hit over 6 1/3 innings against the Phillies, striking out seven and issuing one walk. Verlander retired 16 consecutive batters before walking Reid Brignac to lead off the seventh.
Lee also looked sharp in his final start of the spring, scattering six hits over five innings of one-run ball. The left-hander struck out seven against one walk. The Tigers had at least one baserunner in each inning against Lee, but the lefty was able to pitch out of jams and induced two double plays. Lee finished the spring with a 2.55 ERA over six starts.
"He's been outstanding," said Phillies manager Ryne Sandberg. "That was a quality lineup that he was going against. He's just on a roll."
The Tigers scored the game's only run in the first inning. Ian Kinsler belted a one-out triple to right and scored on Miguel Cabrera's grounder to shortstop.
After struggling to score runs early in the spring, the Phillies entered Wednesday hitting .295 over their last eight games. But their bats were silenced by Verlander, a former American League Cy Young Award winner. Chase Utley had the Phillies' only hit against the flamethrower, a single in the first inning.
Up next: The Phillies host the Blue Jays at 1:05 p.m. ET in their final Grapefruit League game. Phillies newcomer A.J. Burnett will take the mound in his final start of the spring. Burnett is slated to start the second game of the regular season, April 1 in Texas. Right-hander Drew Hutchison is scheduled to start for Toronto. Watch the game live on MLB.TV.