O's pitching posts zeros in spring opener

O's pitching posts zeros in spring opener

LAKELAND, Fla. -- American League Rookie of the Year Michael Fulmer opened his 2017 with a scoreless inning, but the Orioles squeaked out a pitching duel in both teams' Grapefruit League opener. Ryan Flaherty's second-inning sacrifice fly put Baltimore on top for good as Tyler Wilson and a slew of relievers shut down Detroit for a 2-0 O's win Friday afternoon.

The duel opened up the Tigers' new-look facility, now known as Publix Field at Joker Marchant Stadium following a $48 million renovation project. With the wind blowing in for much of the afternoon, and hitters still getting their timing early in camp, there wasn't much offense to be found.

"The M.O. coming into Spring Training is to always pound the zone because the hitters are trying to get their reps," Wilson said, "and if you can establish the zone and establish strikes early on, that's the thing, the first and foremost important thing about pitching."

Fulmer worked around a single to hold down the Orioles in the opening inning, but Mike Pelfrey -- pitching in relief but trying to win back his rotation spot -- paid for a leadoff walk to Logan Schafer and a one-out single by Anthony Santander. J.D. Martinez held Schafer at third with a strong throw, but Flaherty's ensuing fly ball to left allowed him to dash home without a play at the plate.

Chris Dickerson added an insurance run in the fifth inning, reaching base on a walk with two outs and scoring when non-roster invite Juan Perez booted a Hyun Soo Kim ground ball at second base.

Wilson, who made 13 starts in 24 appearances for the Orioles last season, retired all six Tigers he faced from a lineup that featured at least six likely Opening Day starters. Alex Avila's third-inning leadoff single off lefty Jayson Aquino comprised Detroit's lone hit through five innings. Avila also drew a fifth-inning walk off Logan Verrett before Jose Iglesias, Dominic Ficociello and Steven Moya added singles late.

"Nobody was on base, so it looks like we have no energy," manager Brad Ausmus said. "When people are circling the bases, they all look like they're energetic."

Up next for Tigers: Justin Verlander is scheduled to make his first start of the spring on Saturday as the Tigers welcome the Astros to Publix Field at Joker Marchant Stadium for a 1:05 p.m. ET contest. Brad Peacock is scheduled to start for Houston.

Up next for Orioles: Gabriel Ynoa gets the start Saturday when the Orioles make the short trek from Sarasota to Bradenton for a 1:05 p.m. ET game against the Pirates at LECOM Park.

Jason Beck has covered the Tigers for MLB.com since 2002. Read Beck's Blog, follow him on Twitter @beckjason and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.