KISSIMMEE, Fla. — The first game of spring training can provide 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 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 doled out a steady stream of fastballs in the mid-90s. One of them went 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 Tigers were hitless through seven innings but went ahead in the eighth, long after the starters had departed.
The win went to Jose Ortega, who threw a scoreless seventh. Ryan Buchter took the loss, surrendering three of Detroit’s four hits in his lone inning.
Yankees’ Rivera throws BP
Yankees closer Mariano Rivera has thrown batting practice for the first time since knee surgery last year.
Rivera, 43, threw 25 pitches in Tampa, Fla., and said he was happy with the results. He expects to be ready when the Yankees open the regular season April 1 against Boston.
Nationals’ Gonzalez clears drug test
The word of the day Friday at the Washington Nationals’ Viera, Fla., training facility was “progress” while they made final preparations for their first game action of the spring.
The morning brought the arrival of their newest pitching acquisition in right hander Chris Young, as well as the first on-field batting practice session of the spring for third baseman Ryan Zimmerman.
Then, the afternoon carted in more welcomed news when starting pitcher Gio Gonzalez learned from the players’ association that he’d passed a Major League Baseball-administered drug test given days after his name was listed in a newspaper report as receiving performance-enhancing drugs from a now-closed anti-aging clinic.
It added up to a jovial mood for Nationals’ manager Davey Johnson as they readied to travel north to Port St. Lucie for today’s matchup with the New York Mets.
Detroit 2, Atlanta 1
Cleveland 11, Cincinnati 10
San Diego 9, Seattle 3
Texas 5, Kansas City 5, tie
Washington vs. N.Y. Mets at Port St. Lucie, Fla., 12:10 p.m.
Toronto vs. Detroit at Lakeland, Fla., 1:05 p.m.
Houston vs. Philadelphia at Clearwater, Fla., 1:05 p.m.
Minnesota vs. Baltimore at Sarasota, Fla., 1:05 p.m.
Pittsburgh vs. Tampa Bay (ss) at Port Charlotte, Fla., 1:05 p.m.
St. Louis vs. Miami at Jupiter, Fla., 1:05 p.m.
N.Y. Yankees vs. Atlanta at Kissimmee, Fla., 1:05 p.m.
Tampa Bay (ss) vs. Boston at Fort Myers, Fla., 1:35 p.m.
Chicago White Sox vs. L.A. Dodgers at Glendale, Ariz., 3:05 p.m.
Texas vs. Kansas City at Surprise, Ariz., 3:05 p.m.
Cleveland vs. Cincinnati at Goodyear, Ariz., 3:05 p.m.
Seattle vs. San Diego at Peoria, Ariz., 3:05 p.m.
L.A. Angels (ss) vs. San Francisco at Scottsdale, Ariz., 3:05 p.m.
Oakland vs. Milwaukee at Phoenix, 3:05 p.m.
Chicago Cubs vs. L.A. Angels (ss) at Tempe, Ariz., 3:05 p.m.
Colorado vs. Arizona at Scottsdale, Ariz., 3:10 p.m