Top players in Detroit Tigers' lineup produce in 6-6 tie with Pittsburgh Pirates
LAKELAND, Fla. — The Detroit Tigers tied the Pittsburgh Pirates, 6-6, on Friday at Publix Field at Joker Marchant Stadium.
The Tigers stayed at 12-16 in Grapefruit League play after their second consecutive tie.
The top six batters in the Tigers' lineup — Kerry Carpenter, Nick Maton, Javier Báez, Austin Meadows, Spencer Torkelson and Miguel Cabrera — were the catalysts for a 15-hit effort in the third-to-last game in spring training.
That group finished 10-for-21 and drove in five runs.
Maton went 2-for-2 with two walks and a solo home run in the sixth inning. He clobbered a slider at the top of the strike zone and sent the ball 418 feet, putting the Tigers ahead 5-3.
Left-hander Eduardo Rodriguez — named the Tigers' Opening Day starter — completed his final start in spring training. He allowed three runs on nine hits and one walk with six strikeouts.
The 29-year-old threw 58 of 85 pitches for strikes.
The Pirates put eight of 16 balls in play with at least a 100 mph exit velocity, but Rodriguez limited the damage without his best pitches. He generated six whiffs, including five with his changeup, and 20 called strikes.
Connor Joe put the Pirates ahead on the scoreboard, 2-0, by hitting Rodriguez's first-pitch cutter for a two-run home run in the first inning. Mark Mathias extended the lead to 3-0 with an RBI single in the second inning.
Rodriguez conceded his first walk to Carlos Santana at the beginning of the sixth inning. He responded by striking out Ji-Man Choi with a nasty down-and-in changeup to end his outing.
Left-handed reliever Chasen Shreve recorded the final two outs in the sixth.
Rodriguez logged a 1.47 ERA with three walks and 21 strikeouts over 18⅓ innings in five starts this spring. He had a 67.7% strike rate.
At the plate
The Tigers scored five times on RBIs from Maton (one), Báez (two), Meadows (one) and Torkelson (one). The first two runs came against right-hander Roansy Contreras; the next two runs came against left-hander Jose Hernandez.
In the sixth, Maton homered off righty Robert Stephenson.
The Tigers scored their final run in the eighth inning for a 6-5 lead.
On the mound
Right-handed reliever Beau Brieske surrendered two runs in the top of the seventh inning. He left a changeup in the middle of the strike zone, and the Pirates tied the game, 5-5, when Ke'Bryan Hayes hit the hanging pitch for a two-run home run. Brieske then delivered a scoreless eighth inning.
After the Tigers took a 6-5 lead, right-handed reliever Brendan White — called up from minor-league camp — allowed one run in the ninth inning. The first batter of the inning singled, stole second base, advanced to third base on a passed ball by catcher Michael Papierski and scored on a fielder's choice.
The game ended in a 6-6 tie.
1. Maton; 2. Carpenter; 3. Báez.
Saturday (6:07 p.m.) vs. Toronto Blue Jays in Dunedin.
Contact Evan Petzold at email@example.com or follow him on Twitter @EvanPetzold.
This article originally appeared on Detroit Free Press: Detroit Tigers get big hits from key bats in 6-6 tie with Pittsburgh