DUNEDIN, Fla. — The Detroit Tigers tied the Toronto Blue Jays, 3-3, on Thursday at TD Ballpark, remaining at 10-11 in Grapefruit League play.
Right-hander Casey Mize — pitching for spot in the starting rotation — struck out nine over four innings to open the game. The 24-year-old allowed two earned runs on five hits and no walks, throwing 72 pitches. He threw 55 strikes, and got strikeouts for nine of his first 10 outs. Right-hander Michael Fulmer pitched the sixth, seventh, eight and ninth innings. His performance was scoreless until the Blue Jays struck in the eighth inning to swipe a 3-2 lead. Fulmer got seven strikeouts and his sinker averaged 93.9 mph, a small uptick from his past outings. In the top of the ninth inning, catcher Eric Haase, who lost the backup job Thursday morning, crushed his third home run this spring. It was a game-tying solo shot to left field.
Mize used all five of his pitches well, generating 13 swings-and-misses and 12 called strikes. He threw 24 sinkers, 21 sliders, 13 four-seam fastballs, nine splitters and five curveballs. He got whiffs with four of his offerings: sinker (three), slider (six), four-seamer (one) and splitter (three). He elevated his four-seam fastball, which averaged 96.3 mph and maxed out at 97.9 mph. His allowed the Blue Jays to foul away 21 pitches, but he was good enough to fool most of his opponents in the end. (For example, he allowed a 12-pitch single to Cavan Biggio in the first inning.) Even when Mize got in trouble — such as allowing three consecutive hits for two runs in the fourth inning — he continued to pound the strike zone.
At the plate
The Tigers collected nine hits to score three runs, drawing two walks and striking out eight times. JaCoby Jones — who had an error on the warning track in left field — grounded out to give the Tigers a 1-0 lead in the third. Jeimer Candelario added an RBI groundout in the sixth inning, to even the score, 2-2. Victor Reyes finished 2-for-2 with one walk. Top prospects Spencer Torkelson and Riley Greene got at-bats. Greene struck out twice and Torkelson struck out once. Rule 5 draft pick Akil Baddoo struck out in his lone plate appearance. Haase crushed a 402-foot home run to left field with a 110 mph exit velocity.
On the mound
Right-hander Joe Jimenez pitched a scoreless fifth inning. He put two runners on — Bo Bichette’s double and Teoscar Hernandez’s walk — but worked out of the jam. With two runners in scoring position, he got Lourdes Gurriel Jr. to fly out to right. Fulmer, trying to work back into the starting rotation, struck out seven batters across four innings. He allowed run on three hits and one walk. His slider got him 10 of his 12 swings-and-misses. Fulmer used 75 pitches (55 strikes). He punched out Tyler White amid a 10-pitch at-bat with a slider to end the game.
1. Mize, 2. Reyes, 3. Fulmer.
Friday against Pittsburgh Pirates in Bradenton.