3/7/2013 9:21 P.M. ET
Prince chips in early behind sharp Smyly in rout
By Mark Bowman / MLB.com
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- Prince Fielder provided an early lead with a fourth-inning single and the Tigers added to that advantage with a five-run seventh inning that allowed them to cruise to a 9-2 win over the Braves at Champion Stadium on Thursday night.
Nick Castellanos' two-run double fueled the seventh-inning eruption against Anthony Varvaro, who was charged with five runs and seven hits in one inning. Ramon Cabrera, Danny Worth and Bryan Holaday all contributed RBI singles in the decisive inning.
Braves starting pitcher Julio Teheran limited the Tigers to one run and recorded five strikeouts in four innings. Teheran retired nine of the first 10 batters he faced before allowing Brennan Boesch to open the fourth inning with a single up the middle. Following a balk, Fielder scored Boesch with an opposite-field single that beat Atlanta's defensive shift.
Worth tallied three hits after replacing Fielder in the bottom of the fifth inning. The 27-year-old infielder was left stranded after opening the sixth inning with a double off left-handed reliever Luis Avilan. His eighth-inning double off Aaron Northcraft scored Tyler Collins, who contributed two hits to Detroit's 18-hit attack.
Tigers starting pitcher Drew Smyly extended his recent success by limiting the Braves to two hits -- both singles -- in four scoreless innings. Smyly struck out four of the first six batters he faced and issued just one walk. The left-hander, who is bidding for the fifth spot in Detroit's rotation, has allowed three hits and totaled nine scoreless innings during the exhibition season.
Juan Francisco's opposite-field home run off Brayan Villarreal in the seventh inning accounted for Atlanta's first run.
Up next: Bruce Rondon will try to pick up his bid for the closer's job Friday, with his first outing since being sidelined to work on his mechanics this week. He'll pitch an inning of relief as the Tigers host the Mets in a 1:05 p.m. ET game at Joker Marchant Stadium. Max Scherzer will make his second start of the spring. Listen to the play-by-play live on Gameday Audio and on AM 1270 in Detroit.
Mark Bowman is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.