Solano's big day backs Phelps' scoreless start

Solano's big day backs Phelps' scoreless start

LAKELAND, Fla. -- Bryan Holaday's grand slam capped a six-run Tigers rally in the sixth inning off Marlins reliever Sam Dyson, turning what had been a shutout performance for five innings from David Phelps into an 8-4 Tigers comeback win Wednesday afternoon at Joker Marchant Stadium.

On a day when the Tigers had Miguel Cabrera and Victor Martinez in the same lineup for the first time all spring, Phelps kept Detroit in check for five innings, allowing Miami to build an early lead on a Donovan Solano homer off Alfredo Simon and a Jordany Valdespin triple and run scored. Once Phelps left, the Tigers churned out a half-dozen hits.

None of those hits was bigger than the grand slam for Holaday, who had been in a 1-for-21 slump since March 6, the lone hit being a bunt single on St. Patrick's Day. He was 3-for-24 for the spring, all singles, before he sent a Dyson pitch to the left-field berm.

"It's good to see results. It's just positive feedback," Holaday said. "You work hard all offseason and you hope it's going to be there right out of the gates, and sometimes it's not, so you have to grind it out and stick to it. Whenever you square the ball up and get some hits, it's definitely positive feedback."


Miggy makes debut at first: Cabrera made his first start at first base this spring a day earlier than planned, but he proved his readiness soon enough with a diving stop and throw from his seat to rob Don Kelly of an RBI single in the opening inning. An inning later, Cabrera made an off-balance throw home on target to get a bases-loaded forceout on Reid Brignac.

Miggy's fine stop

Phelps continues strong spring: He's likely headed for a long-relief role out of the bullpen, but Phelps has put together a convincing case for a job in the rotation. The right-hander tossed five scoreless innings, allowing two hits and two walks while striking out three. He's allowed only one earned run on eight hits over 16 innings in the Grapefruit League.

Phelps goes five scoreless

Iglesias breaks out of slump: Jose Iglesias broke an 0-for-24 slump with a third-inning single, his first base hit since March 10. He entered the day just 2-for-30 this spring, but the fact that he struck out just twice left manager Brad Ausmus less concerned.

Iglesias singles to right

"There's gotta be a little bit of a luck factor involved when there's been 28 at-bats where you've made contact but it didn't find a place to go," Ausmus said.

Kelly welcomed back to old spring home: Batting cleanup and starting at first base, Kelly received a nice ovation from the Joker Marchant Stadium crowd before his first at-bat in the first inning. The Marlins' 35-year-old utility man, who knocked an RBI double down the right-field line in the fifth inning, spent time before the game signing autographs for fans and reconnecting with his former Tigers teammates. The 35-year-old was drafted by the Tigers in 2001 and spent six years in the Majors with Detroit from 2009-14.

Kelly's RBI double


Miami's Dee Gordon began the game with a leadoff single and immediately stole second base. It was Gordon's Major League-leading seventh stolen base this spring. Tigers center fielder Anthony Gose is tied for second, with five.


"I told Miggy, 'You better not be diving like that.' If he gets hurt, they're going to blame me because I hit the ball!" -- Kelly, on his first-inning groundout to Cabrera


The Marlins will return to Roger Dean Stadium in Jupiter on Thursday, when they will face the Cardinals for the fifth time this spring. Right-hander Henderson Alvarez, Miami's likely Opening Day starter, will take the mound for the Marlins opposite right-hander Adam Wainwright. First pitch is scheduled for 1:05 p.m. ET, and the game will air live on MLB.TV and FOX Sports Florida.

The Tigers send Opening Day starter David Price to the mound for the fifth time this spring when they host the Orioles on Thursday for a 1:05 p.m. ET matchup at Joker Marchant Stadium. It'll mark the second of back-to-back telecasts on Fox Sports Detroit, and will be available live on MLB.TV.

Jason Beck is a reporter for Read Beck's Blog and follow him on Twitter @beckjason. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.