"It was a good day other than that inning," Braves manager Brian Snitker said. "We've been pretty clean all spring. We did some fundamental things really well today and then had the one inning, where we probably checked all of the boxes for how you can screw an inning up."
Zimmermann, whose neck issues limited him to three starts over the final three months of last season, has said he feels good this spring but acknowledged the adrenaline of game action would be his big test. He seemed to pass that, retiring his final four batters after Garcia lofted a double over Nicholas Castellanos' head and down the left-field line for Atlanta's first run.
"Maybe I was a little amped up today, getting back on the mound for the first time in a while," Zimmermann said. "I will be a little sore tomorrow, but normal soreness."
• Zimmermann encouraged after first outing
Zimmermann gave up a run on two hits with a strikeout over two innings before Atlanta pounced on Anibal Sanchez for three runs on four hits in the third. Freeman smacked a line drive to center for two of those runs, one of five consecutive Braves to reach base safely before Sanchez -- fighting to regain a spot in the Tigers' rotation after a season-long struggle in 2016 -- retired his final three batters, the last on a diving stop down the line by Castellanos.
Dansby Swanson added to Atlanta's onslaught with three hits, including a fourth-inning RBI double off Jeff Ferrell.
Miguel Cabrera poked an R.A. Dickey knuckleball into the right-field corner for an RBI double in the opening inning, part of a two-hit game for Cabrera. Castellanos walked and scored on a Travis Demeritte error in the second inning before making a diving stop down the third-base line to end Sanchez's struggles in the third.
"That lineup is a great lineup," Dickey said. "I got a lot of swings and misses, so I felt really good today. Both Miggy's hit and [Ian Kinsler's first-inning single] were not well struck. One was off the handle and one was off the barrel. So those are two good hitters and good pitches. It was a good day for me."
Braves: Matt Kemp and Ender Inciarte are expected to be in the lineup when Atlanta hosts St. Louis on Tuesday in a 1:05 p.m. ET game that will air on Gameday Audio. Mike Foltynewicz will be scheduled to complete two innings in what will be his first start of the year. Foltynewicz is the favorite to win the final open spot in Atlanta's rotation.
Tigers: Daniel Norris will make his first start of the spring as he tries to hold down a spot in Detroit's rotation when the Tigers visit the Yankees on Tuesday for a 1:05 p.m. start in Tampa. Masahiro Tanaka will make his spring debut for New York against a Tigers lineup that includes Ian Kinsler, Justin Upton, Castellanos, James McCann, Mikie Mahtook and Steven Moya.
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