Detroit Tigers win Casey Mize's first spring training start, 6-1, against Pirates

Detroit Tigers win Casey Mize's first spring training start, 6-1, against Pirates
Baseball

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BRADENTON, Fla. — The Detroit Tigers picked up a 6-1 win against the Pittsburgh Pirates on Tuesday at LECOM Park in Bradenton, Florida. The Tigers improved to 2-1 in Grapefruit League play.

What happened: The Pirates requested the game be trimmed from seven to five innings; Tigers manager AJ Hinch didn’t complain. Casey Mize started and pitched two scoreless innings, striking out three batters. Willi Castro went 2-for-2 with a solo home run and two-run double, collecting three RBIs. He has two homers this spring. No. 1 prospect Spencer Torkelson made his spring training debut and took a seven-pitch walk. JaCoby Jones crushed a triple off the center-field run in the fifth, driving in two runs for a 6-1 lead.

[ Watching the Tigers with Riley Greene’s dad unearths great stories on top prospect ]

Starting off: Mize walked three hitters — and struck out three — in his spring training debut. He used 45 pitches (25 strikes) and did not allow a hit across two scoreless innings. He struck out Gregory Polanco with his marquee splitter for the final out in the first frame. The 23-year-old punched out Jacob Stallings (on three straight fastballs) in the second inning and ripped a heater past a looking Travis Swaggerty to complete his work for the afternoon.

At the plate: Castro opened the scoring by belting his second home run of the spring to right-center field off JT Brubaker in the first inning. Akil Baddoo (Rule 5 draft pick) doubled to the left-field corner in the third inning, extending the lead to 2-0. Moments later, Castro chipped in two more runs on his double to right field off the pitcher’s glove. Zack Short doubled to the left-center wall in the fourth inning. Catcher Grayson Greiner — in a battle for the backup job — went 1-for-1 with one walk. Baddoo finished 1-for-2 with one RBI and one walk.

On the mound: Bryan Garcia, who ended last year as the closer, pitched the third inning. He gave up a walk and double but worked out of the jam thanks to an uncanny 3-6-5-2 double play. Erasmo Ramirez pitched the fourth and fifth innings, giving up a solo blast to Todd Frazier on a 92-mph fastball. Unless there’s an injury, Ramirez is unlikely to make the team.

Prospects: Torkelson, Riley Greene, Dillon Dingler and Jake Rogers traveled with the squad and were available off the bench. Torkelson entered as a pinch-runner in the third inning and played third base the rest of the way. Rogers pinch-hit in the fourth; he struck out for the fourth time in four at-bats this spring. Dingler caught the fourth and fifth innings. Greene did not play.

Three stars: 1. Castro, 2. Baddoo, 3. Jones.

Up next: Wednesday vs. Philadelphia Phillies in Lakeland.

Evan Petzold is a sports reporter at the Detroit Free Press. Contact him at epetzold@freepress.com or follow him on Twitter @EvanPetzold.

This article originally appeared on Detroit Free Press: Detroit Tigers win Casey Mize’s first spring training start, 6-1

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