Tigers take exhibition win over Mud Hens 8-3Written by Zach Davis | | firstname.lastname@example.org
In front of 12,000 fans at Fifth Third Field, the Detroit Tigers topped the Mud Hens 8-3 on April 4 in an exhibition matchup. The game was the first between the Tigers and their Triple-A affiliate in the past 12 years and all proceeds are to be donated to charity, with half going to the Detroit Tigers Foundation and half to Helping Hens Foundation.
“Boy, what a beautiful day and a neat atmosphere. It was just a perfect day for baseball,” Toledo head coach Phil Nevin said. “It was a special day for the city, without a doubt. I know everybody has looked forward to it for a long time, and I don’t think it disappointed. You couldn’t have asked for a better day outside and there was a great crowd. They saw some big league guys for a while, it was a really neat day.”
Detroit’s high-powered offense, which finished fourth in baseball with 787 runs last season, showcased its newest addition in slugging first baseman Prince Fielder, who signed a nine-year, $214 million deal in the offseason. The Tigers’ major hitters, including Fielder (0 for 1, R) and Miguel Cabrera (1 for 2, R, RBI), played the first few innings before giving way to their backups. That starting unit propelled Detroit to a 6-1 lead in the first three innings.
The Tigers’ starting lineup racked up a combined nine hits in 20 at bats, scoring seven times while driving in six. Delmon Young (2 for 2, 2 R, RBI) scored a pair of runs while Ryan Raburn (1 for 3, R, 2 RBI) drove in two. Catcher Alex Avila (2 for 2, RBI) also notched a pair of hits with a run batted in.
“There’s no doubt about it, on paper they are as good as it probably gets,” Mud Hens first baseman Ryan Strieby said. “They are going to be a tough team to beat, that’s for sure.”
With the victory, Detroit extended their lead in the all-time series — but not by as much as you might think. The Tigers historically lead the series by an 11-9 margin, and there have also been two ties.
A combined 46 players entered the game, including 27 from Detroit. Among those on the Tigers who have previously played in Toledo are Brennan Boesch (OF), Andy Dirks (OF), Don Kelly (UTIL), Rick Porcello (SP), Ryan Raburn (OF), Ramon Santiago (2B) and Danny Worth (3B)/
Porcello got the start and allowed three runs on seven hits and lasted just 4.2 innings. He gave way to Wilsen Palacios, who shut down the Mud Hens, giving up just one hit in 4.1 scoreless frames.
For Toledo, leadoff hitter Quintin Berry (3 for 5, R) led the way offensively with a game-high three hits. Third baseman Audy Ciriaco (1 for 3, R, RBI) had a run and an RBI for the Hens while Strieby (1 for 4, RBI) also drove home a runner.
Fu-Te Ni earned the loss after being tagged for six runs on nine hits in 2.2 innings against the Tigers’ starting lineup. Other than Luke Putkonen, who gave up two runs in an inning of work, five Toledo relievers combined for 5.1 scoreless innings: Brooks Brown, Matt Hoffman, Brayan Villarreal, Austin Wood and Jose Ortega.
The game was the preseason finale for both teams. Detroit will host the Red Sox in their season opener at 1 p.m. April 5 while Toledo will host the Indianapolis Indians at 5 p.m. April 6.
See more photos from the game in our Facebook gallery.