LAKELAND, Fla. — Jeff Francoeur and Casey Kotchman hit consecutive home runs in the first inning and Jeremy Bonderman was pulled after getting only four outs Sunday in the Detroit Tigers’ 5-4 win over the Atlanta Braves.
Bonderman also walked two batters. He likely will miss his first regular-season turn in the rotation as he continues to recover from shoulder surgery that sidelined him for most of last season.
Placido Polanco hit a solo home run in the first and Brandon Inge put the Tigers ahead 4-3 with a two-run shot in the second off Javier Vazquez. The Braves starter worked six innings.
"Vazquez was good right after the second inning. It looked like the score was going to be 15-14 today, one of those jobbers," said Braves manager Bobby Cox, who also had praise for Bonderman.
"I’ve seen enough of him," Cox said. "I’ll take him in a heartbeat."
Clay Rapada struck out three batters in two perfect innings to earn the victory. Eddie Bonine recorded the final out to pick up his third save. Bonine has not given up a run in his past nine appearances.
Blaine Boyer took over for Vazquez in the seventh and gave up a go-ahead single by Curtis Granderson.Notes: Cox announced his pitching rotation to start the regular season. Derek Lowe will work the opener April 5 at Philadelphia, followed by fellow RHPs Jair Jurrjens, Vazquez and Kenshin Kawakami. Lowe also is set to work the home opener April 10. ... Kawakami will start opposite Daisuke Matsuzaka of Boston in a matchup of Japanese right-handers today. ... The first pitch was delayed 49 minutes because of rain. ... The Tigers and Braves are scheduled to meet three more times this week, including Friday and Saturday in Atlanta.