Yankees strike fast for strong Warren vs. Tigers

Righty goes five innings, boosted by six-run first; A-Rod hits second homer

Yankees strike fast for strong Warren vs. Tigers

LAKELAND, Fla. -- Yankees right-hander Adam Warren made a strong statement in his bid to land a starting gig and Alex Rodriguez hit his second homer of the spring on Friday as the Yanks rolled to an eventual 11-2 victory over the Tigers at Joker Marchant Stadium.

Long before Rodriguez took Tigers reliever Bruce Rondon deep to right field in the fifth inning, however, the Yankees had already pounced all over starter Alfredo Simon earlier in the day. They pushed across six runs on six hits -- including four for extra bases -- off Simon in the first inning alone and, although the righty bounced back with two scoreless innings, the damage had already been done by that point.

Yankees outfielder Brett Gardner got the whole thing started when he led off the game with a triple off the wall in right field. He then came around to score one batter later when Stephen Drew, making his spring debut, laced a double into left field.

That would prove to be just the beginning as Brian McCann tacked on a run-scoring single before prospect Jose Pirela continued his blistering spring with a two-run double later in the frame. Fellow second-base prospect Rob Refsnyder immediately followed with a two-run homer, his first of the spring, to push the lead to 6-0.

Staked to the early lead, Warren cruised through five solid innings in his latest bid to land the final spot in the club's starting rotation. He held the Tigers scoreless through the first four frames before serving up a leadoff homer to Tigers outfielder Yoenis Cespedes to start the bottom of the fifth.

"I feel like I'm getting close," Warren said. "Just spotting the fastball, getting ahead in the count for the most part with all my pitches. I feel like I'm getting there and a lot more consistent with everything in my delivery. I was pleased. I just want to take the next step next outing and keep building on that."

Cespedes' blast -- his second of the spring -- proved to be the lone blemish on the day for Warren. In all, the rotation hopeful allowed four hits, two of which he immediately erased with double plays, while racking up three strikeouts and no walks over a spring-high five innings.

Aside from Cespedes' homer, Rajai Davis provided most of the Tigers' remaining offense on Friday, as the leadoff man went 3-for-3 with a double and a run scored. Davis had not logged multiple hits in any of his first 11 Grapefruit League appearances.

While the Yankees improved to 11-7 in Grapefruit League play with Friday's victory, the Tigers are now winless in their last eight games (seven losses, one tie), and 11 of their last 12 overall.

Up next: Michael Pineda will make his third start of the spring on Saturday as the Yankees host the Astros in a 1:05 p.m. ET contest at George M. Steinbrenner Field that can be heard live on Gameday Audio. Dallas Keuchel will start for the Astros against a Yankees lineup that is expected to include the starting infield of Mark Teixeira, Stephen Drew, Didi Gregorius and Chase Headley.

Paul Casella is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.