LAKELAND, Fla. -- While Prince Fielder and Juan Francisco traded mammoth home runs to the depths of right field at Joker Marchant Stadium, the Tigers couldn't overcome the early lead the Braves built off Rick Porcello en route to a 5-3 win Wednesday afternoon.
Six days after the same two teams opened Grapefruit League play with a pitching duel, Francisco's drive over the scoreboard in right dispelled any notion of a repeat performance. The three-run home run, Francisco's first homer of the spring, also kept Porcello from escaping what had been a two-on, no-out jam, which seemed possible after he struck out Dan Uggla on a curveball.
Porcello gave up three runs on four hits over two innings in his second outing of the spring.
Braves starter Tim Hudson retired all but two of the 11 batters he faced, but the Tigers' duo of Miguel Cabrera and Fielder got him for two runs. Cabrera's ground-ball single through the middle extended the first inning for Fielder, who jumped on an 0-1 fastball and hit a towering drive toward the light towers. The ball landed toward the back of the indoor batting cages, the second time in six days Fielder has homered there.
Chris Johnson padded Atlanta's lead with a third-inning sacrifice fly off Kyle Lobstein before Joey Terdoslavich doubled in a run in the sixth off Joaquin Benoit. Don Kelly cut into Detroit's deficit with a sixth-inning solo shot off lefty Yohan Flande.
Up next for the Tigers: Austin Jackson and Miguel Cabrera are among the regulars scheduled to make the long bus ride to Port Charlotte to face the Rays at 1:05 p.m. ET on Thursday. Anibal Sanchez will make his second and final start for Detroit before he leaves for the World Baseball Classic.