Miguel Cabrera starts at first base, doubles in Detroit Tigers’ 8-2 win over Blue Jays

Detroit Free Press

Evan Petzold | Detroit Free Press

LAKELAND, Fla. — The Detroit Tigers won, 8-2, against the Toronto Blue Jays on Thursday at Joker Marchant Stadium in Lakeland, Florida.

The Tigers improved to 3-2 in Grapefruit League play.

What happened

The game only lasted seven innings — this is expected to be the final shortened contest for the Tigers this spring. Spencer Turnbull started and pitched two innings, giving up two runs with three strikeouts. The bullpen kept the Blue Jays off the board the rest of the way, with Jose Cisnero and Gregory Soto combining for five strikeouts against six batters. Miguel Cabrera started at first base and finished 1-for-2 (RBI double), and Isaac Paredes started at third base and went 1-for-2 (single, RBI sacrifice fly). Robbie Grossman hit leadoff and collected a single.

[ AJ Hinch sees ‘swagger’ in Isaac Paredes. What’s his path to playing time? ]

Starting off

Aiming to take the next step in his career, Turnbull gave up two runs on four hits and one walk in his first appearance this spring. Using 39 pitches (26 strikes), Turnbull looked eerily similar to his 2020 performance, where he showcased the stuff but struggled with command. His fastball reached 96 mph. He struck out Cavan Biggio, Reese McGuire and Marcus Semien.

At the plate

Cabrera put the Tigers on the board with a double down the left-field line in the bottom of the third inning. Derek Hill’s single in the fourth tied the game, 2-2, while an ensuing sacrifice fly from Paredes secured the lead. A wild pitch by Joey Murray allowed Rule 5 draft pick Akil Baddoo to scamper home with ease. The Tigers added two more runs in the fifth inning on RBIs from Greg Garcia (ground out) and Jake Rogers (fly out). Aderlin Rodriguez drove in Baddoo with a single in the sixth. Two pitches later, a wild pitch scored Daniel Pinero.

SEIDEL: Tigers’ rebuild would be better off if they got anything from first-round picks

On the mound

The Tigers’ bullpen locked down the Blue Jays, starting with Joe Jimenez in the third inning. He registered one strikeout — with no hits and no walks — across his 10 pitches (six strikes). His fastball clocked in at 93 mph. Derek Holland put two runners on base, but he was helped out by a beautiful throw from Hill in center field, nabbing McGuire at third. One of the best relief performance came from Cisnero. The 31-year-old struck out two batters (including Bo Bichette on a 97 mph fastball) in a perfect fifth inning. Soto followed by striking out the side in the sixth inning. His fastball sat at 98-99 mph. Alex Lange tossed the seventh inning.

Prospects

After Zack Short was hit in the helmet by a 93.2 mph fastball in the fifth inning, Kody Clemens entered for him as a pinch runner. Short went down on one knee for a moment with trainers around him but walked into the clubhouse on his own power. Clemens grounded out to second base in his only at-bat. Rogers finished 1-for-2 with one RBI. Rogers’ double occurred because center fielder Jonathan Davis completely lost the ball in the sun. It dropped right next to him.

Three stars

1. Cisnero, 2. Soto, 3. Cabrera.

Next up

Friday vs. New York Yankees in Tampa.

Evan Petzold is a sports reporter at the Detroit Free Press. Contact him at epetzold@freepress.com or follow him on Twitter @EvanPetzold.

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