at Clearwater, Fla.
Tuesday, March 16
Tigers on the mound: Justin Verlander might have had Domonic Brown struck out looking on a 2-2 fastball in the second inning, but it was called a ball, which set up Brown's long solo homer to right field to give the Phillies a 1-0 lead. Verlander (6.10 ERA this spring) allowed three hits, four runs, one walk and two home runs in 3 1/3 innings. He also struck out five. Phil Coke took Verlander's place in the fourth and gave up two runs in 1 1/3 innings. Daniel Schlereth, Jose Valverde and Robbie Weinhardt each pitched a scoreless frame.
Phillies on the mound: Left-hander Cole Hamels allowed just one unearned run in five innings as he continued to incorporate his cutter and curveball. He gave up just two hits and struck out four. Hamels, who retired the last seven batters he faced, has a 1.69 ERA in three Grapefruit League starts. Danys Baez, B.J. Rosenberg, Antonio Bastardo and Ryan Madson each tossed a scoreless inning.
Tigers at the plate: Austin Jackson and Jeff Larish managed the only hits for Detroit in the first five innings.
Phillies at the plate: Brown might be headed to Minor League camp in the near future, but he made Tuesday count. He crushed a solo home run to right field off Verlander in the second. Brown worked a nine-pitch at-bat to stay alive. Brown also hit a two-run homer to right-center in the fourth off Coke, although a fan clearly reached over the wall to catch it. Brown added an RBI single in the sixth. Ryan Howard ripped a two-run shot in the fourth, his first of the spring.
Grapefruit League records: Tigers 7-6; Phillies 7-4-1.
Worth noting: Phils third baseman Placido Polanco, who played with the Tigers from 2005-09, was not in the lineup after he sprained his right knee Monday in Bradenton, Fla. Polanco said he is day-to-day and hopes to return to action as early as Friday.
Up next: The battle for the back half of the Tigers' rotation picks up again Wednesday, when Nate Robertson makes his first start of the spring against the Pirates in a 1:05 p.m. ET game at McKechnie Field in Bradenton, Fla. Robertson has tossed five innings of one-hit ball with five strikeouts in his past two outings, both relief appearances, since his spring opener to move toward the forefront of the five-man scrum battling for two open starting spots. Joel Zumaya is also slated to pitch.
Regulars on the trip include Miguel Cabrera, Johnny Damon, Carlos Guillen, Brandon Inge and Scott Sizemore. Kevin Hart is slated to start for Pittsburgh.
The Phils host the Yankees at 1:05 p.m. on Wednesday at Bright House Field in a game that will be shown on MLB.TV. Joe Blanton, Jose Contreras, Sergio Escalona, Chad Durbin and David Herndon are scheduled to pitch. It's an important appearance for Escalona, who has struggled this spring. With J.C. Romero expected to open the season on the disabled list, a strong finish to the spring could land Escalona on the Opening Day roster. Herndon is a Rule 5 Draft pick who also is fighting for a spot in the bullpen. He has pitched well, throwing five scoreless innings.
Todd Zolecki is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.