Anibal fans five, Tigers fall short against Yanks
Righty goes three innings; Jackson, Lombardozzi key rally in seventh
TAMPA, Fla. -- Carlos Beltran hit a long two-run homer and Michael Pineda made his spring debut in an encouraging relief outing before a balk plated the winning run for the Yankees in a 3-2 Grapefruit League victory over the Tigers on Friday night at George M. Steinbrenner Field.
Beltran's shot off Detroit right-hander Anibal Sanchez came with Derek Jeter on the basepaths and cleared the party deck in right field. Beltran's homer, his second of the spring, was so well-hit that Tigers right fielder Torii Hunter did not bother to take a single step in pursuit.
Hiroki Kuroda started for the Yankees and had good swing-and-miss stuff, striking out five over 2 2/3 innings of scoreless, one-hit ball. Kuroda walked one while firing 30 of 52 pitches for strikes, and was lifted because he reached his pitch count.
Sanchez allowed the homer to Beltran among four hits in a three-inning outing. He walked none and struck out five, throwing a wild pitch and tossing 35 of 53 pitches for strikes.
Pineda made his spring debut for New York, entering in relief for the fifth inning. Returning from right labrum surgery, Pineda struck four batters around a single in two scoreless innings, including fanning Miguel Cabrera in a four-pitch at-bat to conclude his outing.
The Tigers got even against Matt Thornton in the top of the seventh, with Austin Jackson's RBI triple and Steve Lombardozzi's RBI single doing the damage against the Yankees' lefty.
Joba Chamberlain pitched a scoreless bottom of the seventh for Detroit, facing the Yankees for the first time following a seven-year career with New York from 2007-13.
The Yankees earned the win in the bottom of the ninth, as Zelous Wheeler reached on a one-out single, moved to third on Francisco Cervelli's single in the next at-bat, and then scored when reliever Luis Marte balked with Jose Gil at the plate.
Jeter logged a pair of singles before working a walk, giving him four straight hits after beginning the spring 0-for-10. Cabrera doubled off the right field wall in the first inning, marking his first extra-base hit of the spring.
Up next: Drew Smyly will make his third start of the spring Saturday when he takes on the Mets in a 1:05 p.m. ET game at Joker Marchant Stadium, live on Gameday Audio. Phil Coke, Al Alburquerque, Evan Reed, Bruce Rondon, Luke Putkonen and Blaine Hardy are scheduled to pitch in relief. Ian Kinsler, Hunter, Victor Martinez and Nick Castellanos are among the regulars slated to be in the starting lineup.