LAKELAND, Fla. (AP) -As the wind whipped around TigerTown and the Detroit Tigers continued to pile up runs for the second straight game, Justin Verlander had only one request.
``Please save some of these for the season,' he said after the Tigers routed the Baltimore Orioles, 9-5, on Saturday.
The Tigers have scored 26 runs in their past two games and Verlander was concerned that his arm would tighten before his Grapefruit League debut. Detroit scored six runs before Verlander got to take the hill, but he went three innings, allowing one run and a hit while walking two. He was the first Tigers pitcher to go three innings this spring.
Verlander said he felt like he was in midseason form, but the 45 minutes it took for the Tigers to complete their six-run first inning was a little longer than he would have liked.
``I'm not getting all excited, but to have a team that can put up this kind of runs, that's something,' Verlander said. ``I was just anxious to finally get out there.'
Tigers manager Jim Leyland said that Verlander, normally high-strung during his games, was pacing the dugout as if it were a key game in August.
``He told me to tell them to save some runs,' Leyland said. ``He was ready to go, but what do you want me to do about it?'
Verlander led the AL in strikeouts last season and went 19-9.
He said he spent too much time on locating his pitches during his disappointing 2008 season and that he just wants to throw his own game without too much concern for pinpoint accuracy.
Orioles starter Kevin Millwood didn't fare so well. He didn't make it through the first inning in his spring debut, allowing seven hits and six earned runs while getting just two ots.
Millwood said he wasn't concerned and that he was working on a new changeup. Millwood said spring training is a time to work and to pile up some innings.
``I threw strikes,' Millwood said. ``They weren't all quality strikes. I don't feel as bad as it looks. I feel like I made some quality pitches. I was working on my changeup. Next time, I'll be working on something else, and hopefully it won't go the way it did today. I went out and tried to work on my change-up. My change-up is my fourth best pitch, and if I can get it to be just a little bit better, it's only going to help.'
Orioles manager Dave Trembley said he knows Millwood will bounce back.
``He made some good pitches, and they got hit. He made some bad pitches that got hit,' Trembley said. ``I would have liked for him to get through two, but it didn't happen. We're trying to get him ready for the season to start. He's got his own routine. I've got no problem with that.'
Clete Thomas and Casper Wells homered for the Tigers who jumped out to a 6-0 lead in the first and cruised. Thomas, Austin Jackson, and Don Kelly each had two hits for Detroit.
Ty Wigginton and Rhyne Hughes homered for Baltimore. It was Hughes' third homer of the spring.
TIGERS NOTES: Leyland said he was again impressed by LHP Daniel Schlereth who retired the side in the eighth inning. Schlereth is on the short list of potential relievers for the Tigers this year ... Leyland also liked the effort by his new closer, Jose Valverde, who allowed two hits but no runs. ``I never judge a closer on his performance in spring training,' Leyland said. ``Closers live on adrenaline and it isn't there during spring training .. LHP Bobby Seay didn't throw as expected, but he said he is encouraged that he'll be ready by Opening Day.
The Associated Press News Service
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