ATLANTA — Rick Porcello, making a bid to be more than a fill-in starter for Detroit, pitched two scoreless innings and the Tigers beat the Atlanta Braves on Saturday in each team’s final exhibition game.
Kenshin Kawakami walked seven batters and gave up four runs in 2 Ã innings for Atlanta. He issued bases-loaded walks in the second and third.
"I don’t think I’ve ever walked as many in nine innings let alone three innings," Kawakami said through an interpreter. "I think that must be a first in my baseball life.
"I felt like my curve just wasn’t breaking well today. I just didn’t have full control of it."
Kawakami will follow Derek Lowe, Jair Jurrjens and Javier Vazquez as the Braves’ No. 4 starter.
Kawakami was 2-1 with a 1.74 ERA in five spring appearances before his shaky start on Saturday.
"It’s not the best time to have it," manager Bobby Cox said of the right-hander’s only poor spring start.
"You want to get it out of your mind as quick as possible. I’ve got a lot of confidence in him. I think he’ll be fine. ... The only difference is the control factor, that’s all. He was off-target."
Atlanta’s Jeff Francoeur had two hits, including a homer, to finish the spring with a .328 batting average.
Braves pitching prospect Tommy Hanson, headed for Triple-A Gwinnett, replaced Kawakami in the third inning and struck out Placido Polanco to strand three runners.
Hanson gave up run-scoring singles to Cabrera in the fourth and sixth. Cabrera scored on Guillen’s two-run homer in the sixth.
Notes: 3B Chipper Jones was sick, Cox said, but "should be fine, I think," for tonight’s opener against the Philadelphia Phillies. ... Despite the loss, the Braves (21-12) had their most wins in spring training since moving to Atlanta in 1966. ... Cabrera finished spring training with a .400 batting average. ... Detroit is off today before beginning a four-game series at Toronto.