3/30/2013 4:19 P.M. ET
Fister efficient, Pena homers in final spring game
By Adam Berry / MLB.com
ST. PETERSBURG -- Rays lefty Matt Moore and Tigers right-hander Doug Fister didn't put up dazzling Spring Training numbers, but Saturday, both could say that they went into the regular season on a relatively high note, as Detroit tied Tampa Bay, 3-3, in both teams' final spring game.
Making their last spring appearances, Moore logged four scoreless innings and Fister gave up two solo shots in six frames.
It looked like Moore's rocky, inefficient spring might have ended on a similar note after a 25-pitch first, but he quickly turned it around and needed only 29 pitches to get through his final three innings of work. Moore, who entered the game with a 4.67 ERA this spring, exited after four innings having allowed one hit and one walk while striking out five on 54 pitches, 37 of them for strikes.
Fister, meanwhile, started the day with a 6.52 ERA in spring games, prompting a reporter to ask Tigers manager Jim Leyland before the game if Saturday was an important start for Fister. Leyland fired back that it wasn't nearly as important as Fister's next start, Detroit's home opener against the Yankees, but Fister pitched well either way, allowing seven hits and no walks on 96 pitches, 63 for strikes.
"It's another step in the right direction for me," Fister said. "I felt like today was much better timing-wise and just that feel. Working on a few pitches here and there, just trying to get fine-tuned ready for six days from now."
When Moore left, the Rays began a parade of one-inning appearances for several of their top relievers. Jamey Wright gave up a two-run homer to Brayan Pena with no outs in the fifth inning, breaking the scoreless tie. Wright allowed four homers over 11 innings in spring games despite allowing only two over 67 2/3 innings in 2012.
Tampa Bay got one back in the bottom of the fifth, when James Loney clubbed a line-drive solo homer, his first of the spring, to right field off Fister. They got the second back in the sixth, as Ryan Roberts hit a solo shot of his own, also off the Tigers' starter.
In the top of the seventh, the Tigers scored their third run on a triple from Pena and an RBI bunt single from Don Kelly. In the bottom of that inning, the Rays tied it up again on a Sean Rodriguez homer off Tigers' reliever Will Clinard.
Up next: Detroit will head north to begin the regular season. The Tigers will hold a voluntary workout on Sunday's off-day, then kick off their regular season Monday with an Opening Day matchup against the Twins at Target Field at 4:10 p.m. ET. Justin Verlander, fresh off receiving his five-year contract extension, will take the ball for Detroit and face Minnesota right-hander Vance Worley.