Verlander wraps his Grapefruit season in style

Verlander wraps his Grapefruit season in style

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- Justin Verlander concluded the exhibition season in impressive fashion and Clete Thomas marred Tommy Hanson's strong start with a fifth-inning home run that proved decisive for the Tigers in their 2-1 rain-shortened win over the Braves on Saturday afternoon.

The game was called after heavy rains hit just after the seventh inning had started.

Thomas' two-out fifth-inning home run to right field interrupted a solid pitcher's duel. The Braves had tied the game with Dan Uggla's two-out double in the fourth inning.

Verlander recorded five strikeouts and limited the Braves to four hits while allowing just one run in six innings. The reigning American League Cy Young Award winner had faced the minimum before Freddie Freeman produced a two-out, fourth-inning single just ahead of Uggla's double.

Austin Jackson opened the game with a single and stole second base before scoring with the help of consecutive groundouts. That served as the only damage Hanson incurred until Thomas hit the decisive fifth-inning home run.

Hanson surrendered consecutive one-out singles to Miguel Cabrera and Prince Fielder before escaping that inning without any damage. The Braves' right-hander learned on Saturday morning that he will start Thursday's Opening Day game against the Mets.

Up Next for the Tigers: The Tigers break up into split squads for one final time this spring, but the vast majority of the projected roster will be staying in Lakeland, where Doug Fister will make his first start in nine days since leaving a game with soreness in his right middle finger. He'll face the Astros Sunday in a 1:05 p.m. ET game at Joker Marchant Stadium. Meanwhile, Prince Fielder will accompany a group of mainly Minor Leaguers to Port St. Lucie for a 1:10 p.m. ET meeting with the Mets.

Mark Bowman is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.