Flores caps Yanks' comeback with walk-off blast

Club scores four in ninth to top Tigers; Tex, Beltran each collect an RBI

Flores caps Yanks' comeback with walk-off blast

TAMPA, Fla. -- Ramon Flores figures to be near the top of the Yankees' list should they need an outfielder during the regular season, and he provided them with something to remember on Tuesday night, belting a game-winning three-run home run in a 9-8 victory over the Tigers at George M. Steinbrenner Field.

Flores slugged his second home run of the spring off right-hander Rafael Dolis, clearing the right-field wall with two strikes and two outs in the bottom of the ninth. Flores is the Yanks' No. 26 prospect and will likely begin the year at Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.

The walk-off shot came after Anibal Sanchez turned in another sharp spring performance. He was supported by Ian Kinsler and J.D. Martinez, who each drove in a pair of runs to highlight Detroit's attack against Esmil Rogers. Martinez, who signed with the Tigers a year ago Tuesday, is tied with Kinsler for the team lead in RBIs this spring with 11. Losing ground in the race to be the Yanks' fifth starter, Rogers permitted five runs (one earned) on five hits in three innings, with his own fielding error affecting his line.

Ramon Flores walk off home run

Sanchez cruised through five innings, holding the Yanks to a pair of runs on four hits. Mark Teixeira skied a run-scoring ground-rule double to left field in the first inning and Carlos Beltran lifted a third-inning sacrifice fly off Sanchez, who tossed five scoreless innings in his last outing against the Nationals.

Sanchez's five strong frames

MOMENTS THAT MATTERED

Gose turns double play

Gose with the hose: Anthony Gose made an impact with his bat (singling in the opening inning) and his legs (stealing second base on his way to scoring) as he continued to make his case as a leadoff hitter. Most impressive, however, was the impact with his arm. He first threw out speedy Brett Gardner trying to tag up from second to third base on Chase Headley's fly ball to right-center in the opening inning. Then Gose threw out Stephen Drew trying to stretch out a double in the fourth.

Cabrera picks up baserunning: Miguel Cabrera wasn't supposed to slide into bases until he does sliding drills on pads Wednesday morning. When he went from first to second base on a Yoenis Cespedes infield single in the second inning, he beat the timetable, sliding feet first into second base.

"I didn't see him," Tigers manager Brad Ausmus said. "I looked up and he had dirt on his pants, and I looked at him and went, 'Did you slide?' And he said, 'Yeah.' So when he came off the field, I told him he doesn't have to slide [in drills] tomorrow since he showed me he can do it tonight."

Girardi on Rogers' outing

Pleading the fifth: Girardi said that he considered Tuesday's outing to be "a pretty big start" for Rogers, who is battling Adam Warren and others for the No. 5 job. The right-hander didn't score any points when he bobbled a routine Jose Iglesias chopper in the second inning, the type of play that all big league clubs practice ad nauseam during the spring. That opened the door for a four-run Detroit frame, but to his credit, Rogers did bounce back with a 1-2-3 third inning.

Cespedes stays in the ballgame

Shaken up but OK: The Tigers received a scare in the second inning when Cespedes misplayed Teixeira's looping double to left field, then appeared to slam his left hip/leg into a metal bullpen fence. Cespedes limped back to his position and was attended to by a Detroit trainer, but he stayed in the game.

QUOTABLE

"He's a guy that is definitely on our radar. If something was to happen to one of our outfielders, I think he'd be a pretty strong candidate." -- Girardi on Flores

WHAT'S NEXT

The Tigers will welcome back Don Kelly to Lakeland in a Miami uniform on Wednesday when the Marlins make their annual visit for a 1:05 p.m. ET game at Joker Marchant Stadium. Victor Martinez is scheduled to serve as the designated hitter in his second Tigers game since returning from knee surgery. Alfredo Simon will make the start for Detroit opposite David Phelps. The game marks the first of five telecasts produced by Fox Sports Detroit, with Mario Impemba and Rod Allen on the air. The broadcast will also be available on MLB.TV.

Masahiro Tanaka appears to be in line to serve as the Yankees' Opening Day starter, and the right-hander will make his third start of the spring on Wednesday as the Bombers entertain the Mets at George M. Steinbrenner Field. Right-hander Rafael Montero is on the mound for the Mets in a 1:05 p.m. ET start that will be televised on YES and also available on MLB.TV.

Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. Read Beck's Blog and follow him on Twitter @beckjason. Bryan Hoch is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @bryanhoch and read his MLBlog, Bombers Beat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.