Miguel Cabrera plays final spring training game in Detroit Tigers’ 11-10 win over Rays

Detroit Free Press

LAKELAND, Fla. — The Detroit Tigers beat the Tampa Bay Rays, 11-10, on Sunday in the final spring training game at Publix Field at Joker Marchant Stadium.

The Tigers finished 14-16-2 in Grapefruit League play. Opening Day is at 3:10 p.m. Thursday against the Rays in St. Petersburg, Florida.

What happened

The Tigers held a brief on-field ceremony for Miguel Cabrera before his final spring training game. He was presented with a key to the city of Lakeland, his first retirement gift.

Cabrera finished 0-for-3 with one strikeout. He lined out to left field in his final plate appearance.

“We’re going to do that a lot this year,” Tigers manager A.J. Hinch said. “We’re going to celebrate him in a lot of places. … It was nice to see Miggy loved as usual in his last spring training game.”

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Jonathan Davis opened the bottom of the ninth inning with a walk. He advanced to second on a passed ball, then scored on Ryan Kreidler’s single to center field for a walk-off victory.

Kreidler, 25, finished with a .288 batting average, six walks and 10 strikeouts in 21 games.

“It’s been a staple for him throughout his minor-league career,” Hinch said of Kreidler’s swing decisions. “A small sample in the big leagues last year is probably not indicative of what he can possibly be. It’s nice to see him settle in and continue to put up good at-bats.”

Before the walk-off run

The Tigers employed a bullpen-only run of pitchers: Edwin Uceta (two innings), Kervin Castro (one inning), Trevor Rosenthal (two outs), Miguel Diaz (1⅓ innings), Brendan White (one inning), Matt Wisler (one inning) and Tyler Holton (two innings).

None of those pitchers are expected to make the Opening Day roster.

In the eighth inning, the Tigers scored four runs off left-handers Garrett Cleavinger and Jacob Lopez. It started with walks from Davis and Kreidler. Andrew Knapp singled to load the bases.

Kerry Carpenter attacked a slider at the top of the strike zone and send the ball back up the middle for a two-run single. The Tigers took an 8-7 advantage on Carpenter’s two-strike hit.

Matt Vierling, who could be the Tigers’ Opening Day leadoff hitter, drove in another run when he grounded into a double play. Carlos Mendoza increased the margin to 10-7 with an RBI single to right.

Starting off

Rosenthal, a former All-Star closer who signed a minor-league contract March 7, entered the game in the fourth inning. The 32-year-old pitched in a game for the first time this spring.

It was the most important outing in the spring training finale.

He will report to Triple-A Toledo.

“I felt really good,” Rosenthal said. “I thought I commanded the ball well. I mixed all my pitches. I worked with runners on base. It was a good first step. … I’ll continue to get in games and get my feet under me.”

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Rosenthal allowed two runs on four hits — without a walk or a strikeout — but tossed 15 of 20 pitches for strikes. He threw eight cutters, seven four-seam fastballs, four changeups and one slider.

His fastball averaged 93.9 mph and topped out at 96.1 mph.

“I thought his arm strength was good, and he got a chance to break a sweat and get into some game action,” Hinch said. “I don’t take a lot away from it other than it was nice to get him into a game before we left camp.”

At the plate

The Tigers tied the game, 1-1, in the third inning.

Jonathan Schoop received a hanging slider from Rays right-hander Cooper Criswell. He hit the breaking ball with a 99.5 mph exit velocity and sent it 397 feet to the berm in left field for a solo home run.

He went 3-for-3 with two singles and one homer.

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Trailing 4-1, the Tigers faced right-hander Carlos Garcia in the fifth inning. The first two batters, Spencer Torkelson and Cabrera, were retired on groundouts, but the next five didn’t disappoint.

Akil Baddoo started the rally with a single to center field. He scored on Eric Haase’s double to center. Schoop followed with a single. On the play, a throwing error from shortstop Tristan Gray allowed Haase to score, cutting the Tigers’ deficit to 4-3.

After Nick Maton worked a five-pitch walk, Riley Greene blasted a 92.7 mph fastball from Garcia for his fourth home run in spring training. The three-run homer, tagged with a 105.8 mph exit velocity, traveled 410 feet and put the Tigers ahead, 6-4.

On the mound

The Rays recaptured the lead with one run in the sixth, seventh and eighth innings. They scored those runs, in order, against White, Wisler and Holton.

Wisler struggled again.

The 30-year-old, an eight-year MLB veteran who signed a minor-league deal, finished spring training with a 16.88 ERA, seven walks and two strikeouts — as well as six balks — in 5⅓ innings across six outings.

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The Tigers took the lead, 10-7, in the bottom of the eighth inning.

Right-hander Jack Anderson gave up three runs in the top of the ninth inning, bringing the score to 10-10, but thanks to the Tigers’ rally in the bottom of the ninth, he picked up the win.

Three stars

1. Greene; 2. Schoop; 3. Kreidler.

Contact Evan Petzold at epetzold@freepress.com or follow him on Twitter @EvanPetzold.

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