Verlander strong, Tigers flex muscles in win

Verlander strong, Tigers flex muscles in win

LAKELAND, Fla. -- Andrew Romine, Ian Kinsler and Victor Martinez powered the Tigers' offense out of an early slump with back-to-back-to-back home runs in a four-run third inning, sending Detroit to an 11-4 win over the Astros on Saturday at Publix Field at Joker Marchant Stadium.

Justin Verlander tossed two scoreless innings in his first outing of the spring, but left a scoreless game thanks to two similarly pitched innings from Houston starter Brad Peacock in the Astros' Grapefruit League opener.

"Everything went all right," Verlander said. "I was a little erratic, worked on some stuff, but overall, pretty good. I don't think you'll ever see me throw five or six changeups in a row like I did to lead off the second inning. There's just kind of some points of emphasis. I'll throw enough fastballs to get that dialed in."

The Tigers were scoreless on six hits through their first 11 innings of Grapefruit League play before Romine, Kinsler and Martinez pounced on reliever Edison Frias. Martinez's drive deep down the right-field line gave the Tigers a 4-0 lead before Frias' ensuing curveball hit Miguel Cabrera on the arm, leading to an immediate ejection from home-plate umpire Hunter Wendelstedt.

Reid Brignac cut into Detroit's lead with an RBI double in the fourth before Justin Upton's RBI double and add-on singles from James McCann and Tyler Collins put the game away.

Astros Up Next: Brady Rodgers will make his first start of the spring when the Astros travel to Lake Buena Vista, Fla., to face the Braves at 12:05 p.m. CT Sunday (Listen on Gameday Audio). Carlos Correa is expected to make his Grapefruit League debut. Luke Gregerson, Reymin Guduan, Ashur Tolliver, Jordan Jankowski and Aaron West are scheduled to pitch in relief.

Tigers Up Next: Watch on MLB.TV as the Tigers play their first road game of the season Sunday when Matt Boyd starts against the Mets in a 1:10 p.m. ET matchup in Port St. Lucie. Victor Martinez, Jose Iglesias, Nick Castellanos, Steven Moya and JaCoby Jones are among the position players scheduled to make the trip.

Watch every out-of-market regular-season game live on MLB.TV.

Jason Beck has covered the Tigers for since 2002. Read Beck's Blog, follow him on Twitter @beckjason and listen to his podcast.

Brian McTaggart has covered the Astros since 2004, and for since 2009. Follow @brianmctaggart on Twitter and listen to his podcast.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.