Tigers' Porcello has strong start, Collins homers and Avila knocks in two

Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

Rick Porcello pressed his luck, Austin Jackson was robbed by the cantankerous Florida weather, Tyler Collins impressed with a homer, and Alex Avila came through.

DETROIT -- Rick Porcello pitched three solid innings during Sunday's game against the Miami Marlins, amid fluttering trade rumors which were quickly denied by Tigers president and general manager Dave Dombrowski.

Three batters were struck out and six grounded out having never left the infield. Third baseman Nick Castellanos made a beautiful defensive play when he made a diving catch to cut off a line drive that would have extended the third inning.

Porcello came back out to pitch the fourth inning -- the first Tigers pitcher to do so in Spring training -- but his luck ran out when Marlins right fielder Giancarlo Stanton crushed a home run over the left field wall to put the Marlins ahead of the Tigers. A singled line drive by catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia ended his day.

Of the 59 pitches Porcello threw 40 were strikes and he walked no one. He tore up the strike zone with his changeup and made improvements to a breaking ball he's been working on.

Tigers relief pitchers were able to keep the Marlins damage to one and delivered five 1-2-3 innings. Evan Reed looked strong as he retired six batters in two innings of work.

Ian Krol struck out two in the seventh inning and Jose Alvarez finished out the game for the Tigers by retiring six of the eight batters he faced, striking out four of those six.

Marlins pitcher Tom Koehler held the Detroit Tigers' bats relatively quiet throughout six innings. The only hits by the Tigers were singles by Miguel Cabrera in the first and Trevor Crowe in the sixth. Three batters were walked -- one in the fifth and two in the sixth -- but the Tigers were held hitless otherwise.

During the sixth inning the Tigers had a chance to take the lead when they loaded the bases on two walks and a single, but a swinging strikeout by Alex Avila ended those hopes and the Tigers left the inning with the bases loaded.

Austin Jackson was robbed of a home run in the seventh inning that would have sizzled out of the park had the wind not knocked it down so Tyler Collins got things going instead. He blasted a home run to left field which put the Tigers on the board and tied the game.

Alex Avila, whose bat has been somewhat quiet during Spring Training, made up for the missed opportunity back in the sixth and hit a fly ball double into center field with two on and two out in the eighth inning to put the Tigers in the lead 3-1. The final game score was 3-1 Tigers.

Neither the Tigers nor the Marlins had errors. The Tigers had four hits and drove in three of those while the Marlins had seven hits but were only able to produce on one of those. The Tigers offense added another stolen base to their spring training count, making it their 16th stolen base so far. Five have been caught while attempting to steal.

Miguel Cabrera's second and only other at-bat of the day resulted in another walk, his fifth of spring training. He is currently the highest walked batter on the team followed by Alex Avila and Daniel Fields with three each.

Austin Jackson, who has been hitting in the middle of the lineup to this point has produced eight RBI and is followed closely by Nick Castellanos who has seven.

The Detroit Tigers will be remaining in Jupiter, Fla as they take on the St. Louis Cardinals tomorrow for the second time in spring training. As both the Cardinals and Marlins play in Roger Dean Stadium, Monday's game will take place there.

The Tigers will face right-handed pitcher Shelby Miller while the Cardinals go up against the 2013 Cy Young offerings of righty Max Scherzer. Monday's game also marks the first broadcasted FOX Sports Detroit game featuring the play-by-play shenanigans of Mario Impemba and Rod Allen.

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