Cabrera duels with Kimbrel, Tigers beat Braves 2-1
KISSIMMEE, Fla. (AP) — The first game of spring training can provide some unusual scenarios.
Such as Detroit slugger Miguel Cabrera facing Atlanta closer Craig Kimbrel — in the third inning.
Coming off baseball's first Triple Crown season since 1967, Cabrera grounded out against Kimbrel before finishing his day with a drive to the warning track in center field, not a factor as the Tigers beat the Braves 2-1 Friday in the opening exhibition game of the year between big league teams.
Cabrera, who led the AL with 44 homers, 139 RBIs and a .330 average, got a chance to pose with Mickey and Minnie Mouse before batting practice, a nod to the game being played at the Braves' Disney World complex. Then, to chants of "MVP! MVP!" from the stands, he grounded out in the first against Tim Hudson.
In the third, Kimbrel took over for Hudson and promptly walked the first two hitters. The closer fanned Quinton Berry and got Omar Infante on a flyout before Cabrera stepped in again.
Kimbrel, coming off a season with 42 saves, 1.01 ERA and 116 strikeouts in 62 2-3 innings, doled out a steady stream of fastballs in the mid-90s. One of them went all the way to the backstop, allowing the runners to move up, but Cabrera grounded a 3-2 pitch to shortstop Andrelton Simmons that ended the threat.
"It's a little different than rolling out there in the ninth inning," Kimbrel said. "But I was just getting in my work."
Both Cabrera (Venezuela) and Kimbrel (United States) will soon be leaving camp to play in the World Baseball Classic. They could wind up facing each other with a lot more on the line.
"I might see him here in a few weeks," Kimbrel said. "I'm happy to get through the inning."
Justin and B.J. Upton made their Atlanta spring training debuts. The brothers both went 0 for 2, then scooted out of the clubhouse before the media was allowed in.
The Uptons are part of a new era for the Braves, who must replace retired third baseman Chipper Jones, a stalwart for nearly two decades in the middle of the order. B.J. was signed as a free agent to a $75.25 million, five-year contract, while Justin was acquired in a blockbuster deal with Arizona.
"We do have a lot of new faces," said right fielder Jason Heyward, who started alongside the Uptons in one of baseball's most touted outfield trios. "We just want to get a feel of things, talking and communicating."
Sports Photo Galleriesview all
- 12097Oklahoma tornadoes: Plaza Towers Elementary School teacher shoved students into bathroom as wall collapsed
- 11309Oklahoma tornadoes: Cost, custom keep basements scarce
- 6870Oklahoma tornadoes: The 'Big Dog,' the little boy and the hug that triumphs over tragedy
- 6485Finding Addyson – One family's struggle in the Moore tornado
- 4833Downtown wish list includes Super Target
- 4317OU softball: Sooners inspired by Casey Angle, run-rule Texas A&M
- 3653Oklahoma City pastor will face trial in fatal shooting of son-in law