Young Tigers' bats back Verlander's strong debut

Young Tigers' bats back Verlander's strong debut

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- After his teammates scored four runs in the first inning against Shelby Miller, Justin Verlander cruised through his Grapefruit League season debut. The 2011 American League Cy Young Award winner surrendered one hit and notched a pair of strikeouts over two scoreless innings, as the Tigers cruised to a 12-6 win on Saturday at Champion Stadium.

Miller's first start in a Braves uniform proved to be forgettable, as he retired just one of the seven batters that he faced. The 24-year-old right-hander surrendered a leadoff double to Ian Kinsler, issued a pair of walks -- including one with the bases loaded -- and allowed Hernan Perez to begin his three-hit performance with a two-run single. Anthony Gose also had three hits and drove in two runs.

Along with capping the four-run first inning, Perez added an RBI single in Detroit's decisive seven-run fourth inning. Nick Castellanos fueled the uprising with a double off Williams Perez, who was charged with five earned runs in 1 2/3 innings.

Tigers closer Joe Nathan notched a strikeout while completing a scoreless inning in his first appearance of the spring. Braves outfielder Todd Cunningham scored on John Buck's two-run double in the sixth inning and notched one of the two RBI singles Ian Krol surrendered in the seventh inning.

Up next: Shane Greene will make his Tigers debut on Sunday at Joker Marchant Stadium when he faces the Astros in a 1:05 p.m. ET game. Joba Chamberlain and Joakim Soria are scheduled to make their first outings of the spring.

Mark Bowman is the Braves beat reporter for He has been covering the club since 2001.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.