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Hanson pitches six innings in final tuneup
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KISSIMMEE, Fla. — Tommy Hanson pitched six innings and allowed five hits in a 2-1 loss to the Tigers on Saturday in his final start before opening day.

Atlanta closer Craig Kimbrel came in for the seventh but that’s when the game was called after a seven-minute delay.

Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez had already seen enough by the time the game was called.

“Tommy Hanson was great,” Gonzalez said. “He got his work in and he threw strikes. He’s lined up to start the opener and he’s looking great.”

Justin Verlander also had a crisp outing in his final spring start in a game called after six innings due to rain.

Verlander, who won the American League Cy Young and Most Valuable Player awards last season, allowed four hits in six innings to finish the spring with a 2.02 ERA. The right-hander will make his next start on Thursday against the Boston Red Sox.

Hanson is also slated to start on opening day on Thursday against the New York Mets.

Verlander went 24-5 with a 2.40 ERA last season. He won the AL Cy Young Award and was voted MVP, making for a whirlwind winter. But he’s ready to move on.

Verlander allowed four hits in six innings against Atlanta, finishing the spring with a 2.02 ERA. He struck out five and walked none.

“I didn’t have anything to work on today,” said Verlander, who will face the Boston Red Sox on Thursday. “There’s nothing more I can do. I’m just trying to pitch and treat it like it’s the regular season.”

Verlander’s first pitch against the Braves registered 96 mph on the radar gun. That might be nice in July, but it showed he was a little amped up for a meaningless exhibition game.

“That was an accident,” he laughed. “It came out a little hot.”

Still, Verlander said he isn’t satisfied. He said his curveball has been good but not great, and he did some more throwing in the bullpen after the game was called following a seven-minute rain delay.

“Curveball wasn’t great,” he said. “Everything else was all right. Fastball control got a little bit better. Changeup was pretty good. Slider got a little better.”

Miguel Cabrera went 1 for 3 with an RBI and moved his spring average to .444, and Clete Thomas homered for the Tigers. Dan Uggla went 1 for 2 with an RBI for the Braves.

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