Tigers' relievers look sharp in bullpen game

Ryan allows three runs (two earned) in first; 'pen shuts down Astros

Tigers' relievers look sharp in bullpen game

KISSIMMEE, Fla. -- Left-hander Dallas Keuchel's final spring outing before taking the ball next week on Opening Day for the Astros was a good one, holding the Tigers to seven hits and one run in 5 2/3 innings in a 3-2 win Wednesday afternoon at Osceola County Stadium.

In their Grapefruit League finale, the Astros jumped on Tigers starter Kyle Ryan for three runs (two earned) in the first inning, with Evan Gattis delivering an RBI single, Chris Carter adding an RBI groundout and Jake Marisnick crushing an RBI double.

"Overall, I felt like my pitches were there," said Ryan, who's competing for a spot in the bullpen. "I had a couple unlucky situations, a couple good hits as well. It was all right."

Keuchel will make his first Opening Day start when the Astros face the Indians on Monday at Minute Maid Park. He pitched out of a bases-loaded jam in the fourth inning and gave up an RBI double to James McCann in the sixth that allowed the Tigers to cut the lead to 3-1.

"I wasn't really too happy with the command," Keuchel said. "Fastball command was kind of spotty, but I really found the slider as an out pitch and that's the one thing I've been lacking all Spring Training. That was nice to see on the last start.

"Other than that, I'm just excited for the season to start, and what a good team to go up against in the Tigers. We've got Cleveland coming in, and there's nothing but excitement."

Dixon Machado hit an RBI single in the eighth to bring home Dominic Ficociello and cut the deficit to one.

Up next: The Tigers will have their second straight bullpen start Thursday, this time on ESPN, as they send relief candidate Angel Nesbitt to the mound behind their projected Opening Day lineup in a 1:05 p.m. ET start against the Yankees at Joker Marchant Stadium. Bryan Mitchell is scheduled to start for New York.

Brian McTaggart is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, Tag's Lines. Follow @brianmctaggart on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.