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Tigers 5, Astros 1: Kyle Lobstein goes 3 strong in 2014 spring debut

Big fourth spurs victory.

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

LAKELAND, Fla. -- Kyle Lobstein probably isn't going to break camp with the Tigers. But he did make a good impression in the Tigers' 5-1 victory over the Astros Saturday at Joker Marchant Stadium. After facing the minimum six batters through the first two innings, Lobstein became the first Tigers starter of spring to go out for a third. The Astros worked a walk for their only baserunner. Lobstein struck out four.

"He threw everything for strikes," Tigers manager Brad Ausmus said. "Clean innings. Command looked really good."

The 24-year-old left-hander Lobstein was acquired from the Rays in exchange for Curt Casali just before the 2013 season. He went 13-7 with a 3.27 ERA between Double-A Erie and Triple-A Toledo last season.

The Tigers' rotation figures to be full with Drew Smyly filling out the fifth spot. Lobstein has started 119 of his 120 minor-league appearances.

"You definitely have to take development into account," when making a decision about a future role for Lobstein, Ausmus said. "From the get-go, like I said, it's very difficult to evaluate in spring training because it's just not the same as the regular season."

The Tigers scored all five of their runs in the fourth inning on four hits and two walks against Brad Peacock. Miguel Cabrera and Victor Martinez singled and Alex Avila walked to load the bases with no outs. Austin Jackson brought one run home, then Don Kelly lined a shot that bounced off the right-field wall to score two more runs. Sacs by Nick Castellanos and Hernan Perez closed out the scoring.

Houston's only run came off Tigers reliever Justin Miller. Carlos Correa doubled then later scored on a groundout off the bat of Brett Wallace. Correa was the No. 1 draft pick overall in 2012.

Quick notes:

-- Steve Lombardozzi went 1-for-3 with a few snags at shortstop, including a diving stop. He also stole third.

-- Al Alburquerque missed the strike zone six consecutive times to open his seventh-inning appearance before striking out two in the inning. "Rough start, good finish," Ausmus said. "He had trouble finding the strike zone at first but then zoned in and then the last couple hitters were good. His slider looked good. He just had trouble commanding his fastball to start."

-- Batting in the sixth spot, Austin Jackson went 2-for-3. He'll continue to bounce around in the lineup a bit, Ausmus said. "You can see him anywhere. You might see him at the top also. I don't think I have him slated at the top any time in the next couple of games, though. ... My guess is you will see him toward the top at some point."

-- Don't be surprised if Victor Martinez leads off or bats second on a day he catches. Ausmus would like Martinez to get his at-bats in without being forced to squat behind the plate for six innings.