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Santana, Braves power past Tigers

POSTED: March 25, 2014 5:31 p.m.
Carlos Osorio | Associated Press/

Atlanta Braves' Gerald Laird, left, is congratulated by teammate Dan Uggla after they both scored on Laird's two-run home run during the sixth inning of Tuesday's spring exhibition baseball game against the Detroit Tigers in Lakeland, Fla.

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LAKELAND, Fla. — Ervin Santana allowed two runs in three innings as the Atlanta Braves topped the Detroit Tigers 12-3 Tuesday.

Santana gave up four hits and struck out one in his second start since being signed by the Braves to a one-year, $11 million deal on March 12. Santana was 9-10 with a 3.24 ERA for the Kansas City Royals last season.

Santana has pitched five innings this spring and has a 5.40 ERA.

"I feel good," he said. "I am just trying to keep the ball down. I know I still have to work on some stuff. Except for a couple of runs, it felt fine."

Santana was unsigned heading into the spring, but the Braves lost starters Kris Medlen and Brandon Beachy to Tommy John surgery and expect Mike Minor to miss at least a month of the regular season.

Santana has a record of 105-90 over nine major league seasons, all in the American League.

Jason Heyward and Gerald Laird both homered for the Braves. Dan Uggla had two hits and two RBIs.

Tigers starter Rick Porcello gave up six runs and 10 hits in six innings.

Miguel Cabrera raised his spring batting average to .378 with two hits.

STARTING TIME

Braves: Manager Fredi Gonzalez liked what he saw from Santana.

"I think he did really good," Gonzalez said. "He kept the ball on the grass when they did hit it. It's just a matter of keeping him on the field."

Tigers: Porcello kept his spirits up after his rough outing.

"It was a good time," he said. "I was playing baseball and that's always fun."

Porcello gave up three first-inning runs and three more in the sixth.

"I thought I was throwing it well until the sixth and then I just started to get the ball up. I feel really good, but I have some work to do at keeping the ball down."

TRAINER'S ROOM

Braves: Atlanta may have to worry about another potential pitching problem. Right-handed reliever Cory Gearrin left early because of a strain in his pitching elbow. He is day-to-day.

Gonzalez said he is withholding judgment until Wednesday.

Tigers: Outfielder Rajai Davis played in his first game since hurting his hamstring last week. He went 0 for 2 and came out after the third inning. Manager Brad Ausmus said he was limiting Davis to two at-bats or three innings. ... Lefty Phil Coke was scheduled to pitch but wasn't feeling well, so Ausmus kept him out. He is expected to be ready for his next outing.

ROUGH OUTING

Tigers lefty Ian Krol, acquired from Washington in the offseason deal for Doug Fister, allowed four earned runs in an inning to saw his ERA go to 7.56. He walked a batter and allowed four hits.

"He was just out of whack today," Ausmus said.

Krol was scheduled to pitch on Monday but the game was rained out. He pitched in the batting cage and his outing on Tuesday was his first back to back games this spring.

GOING, GOING, WAY GONE

Heyward's wind-blown homer against Porcello cleared the tall right field scoreboard before clanging off a pickup truck. Tigers right fielder Torii Hunter simply looked up as it soared over his head, picked up a few blades of grass and tossed them into the air as he watched it sail out of sight.



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