Bats waste no time in Tigers' Grapefruit finale
Miggy, Kinsler help open early scoring against Rays left-hander Moore
LAKELAND, Fla. -- Alex Avila saved his first home run of the spring for the last game of the Grapefruit League season while Ian Kinsler scored twice against Rays lefty Matt Moore, sending the Tigers north with a 6-3 win Friday at Joker Marchant Stadium.
Tampa Bay finished with baseball's best record this spring at 16-7-4. Detroit closed its slate with a 15-12-2 mark.
Just over an hour after a news conference to announce his eight-year contract extension, Miguel Cabrera singled as part of three consecutive Tigers hits to open the game. Rajai Davis hit a leadoff single, took second base on a wild pitch and scored on a Kinsler single.
Moore regrouped after Cabrera's liner into shallow center to strike out Victor Martinez and Torii Hunter, but he gave up a second run when Austin Jackson's ground ball through the left side sent Kinsler home from second. That was the theme of the day for Moore, who alternated nasty pitches with damage control on his way to three runs on seven hits over three innings.
It was nevertheless encouraging for Moore, who didn't walk a batter after issuing 10 free passes over his previous two starts.
"For me, personally, it's a little bit easier to walk away from a game like this, where I was in a zone," Moore said. "They beat me. I didn't put them on. Try to work around some of those base hits, and we'll be ready for the season."
Kinsler's second run off Moore began with a leadoff single before two wild pitches put him in position to score on a Martinez liner into left. Moore escaped further damage when Brandon Guyer stretched for a diving catch in left-center field, robbing Nick Castellanos of an RBI double.
Avila's home run came off Joel Peralta. It was just his fourth extra-base hit in a Spring Training that saw him bat .306 (15-for-49) with four RBIs. Dominic Ficociello added an RBI single in the seventh.
Up next: The Tigers take a side trip on their trek north for an exhibition game Saturday in Washington, where they'll take on the Nationals in a 2:05 p.m. ET game that will be free on MLB.TV. The contest won't count in any standings, not even the Grapefruit League, but it'll be a big game for Anibal Sanchez, who makes his final tuneup before his regular-season debut next Thursday. Most of the projected Tigers starting lineup will play.