Relief corps pitches Tigers past Yankees

Bullpen arms give Ausmus plenty to consider

Relief corps pitches Tigers past Yankees

LAKELAND, Fla. -- Nick Castellanos' two-run single fueled a three-run fourth inning, supporting nine innings of five-hit ball for the Tigers bullpen, as Detroit pulled out a 3-2 win over the Yankees on Thursday afternoon at Joker Marchant Stadium.

The victory gave Tigers manager Brad Ausmus nine innings to watch relief candidates as he tries to sort out his bullpen, now with two more spots to fill with Justin Verlander and Bruce Rondon slated to start the season on the 15-day disabled list. Detroit relievers made their case against a Yankees split-squad lineup that led with Didi Gregorius, Chase Headley and Mark Teixeira.

Dolis earns save with pickoff

Starting pitcher Angel Nesbitt, a strong candidate to fill Rondon's spot, hit 95 mph consistently on the Joker Marchant Stadium radar gun with a fastball that topped out at 96. He needed just 10 pitches to retire the aforementioned Yankees trio in order in the first inning before escaping trouble with a double play in the second.

Tom Gorzelanny retired two batters in his second straight day of work after retiring all five batters he faced Wednesday. Joba Chamberlain overcame a pair of walks with a fourth-inning double play.

Gorzelanny fans Noonan

Add in a trio of slick-fielding plays from shortstop Jose Iglesias, and the Tigers' relief parade proved stingy. The only Yankees runs came on a Kyle Roller sacrifice fly off Blaine Hardy in the fifth inning and a Slade Heathcott ground-ball single through the hole as Iglesias rushed to cover second base in the seventh.

Iglesias' fine pick

By then, the Tigers had their advantage, having capitalized on their one real opportunity in the fourth inning against hard-throwing Yankees hurler Bryan Mitchell. Miguel Cabrera's leadoff walk and back-to-back singles from J.D. Martinez and Yoenis Cespedes loaded the bases with one out.

Mitchell struck out Alex Avila on an offspeed pitch, but Castellanos sent a ground ball through the right side to score Martinez. Cespedes came home on a wild pitch that catcher John Ryan Murphy blocked but had to run down in front of him, leaving home unoccupied.

Up next: The Tigers wrap up their Spring Training with a home-and-home set with the Rays, starting with a 1:05 p.m. ET matchup Friday in their Joker Marchant Stadium finale. Anibal Sanchez, now slotted to pitch the second game of the regular season, will make his final spring start opposite Jake Odorizzi. The game will be available on MLB.TV as a Free Game of the Day and Gameday Audio.

Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. 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.