CLEARWATER, Florida -- The Detroit Tigers got ahead, went down and then regained the lead to eventually defeat the Philadelphia Phillies at Bright House Field in Grapefruit League action, 6-5.
Justin Upton got the ball rolling with a solo home run in the top of the first inning off James Russell. It was the first long ball for Upton in a Tigers uniform this spring.
Russell gave up home run to Upton and that was his only blemish on Saturday. The 30-year-old left-hander struck out one hitter during his single inning of pitching.
In the top of the fourth inning, Tyler Collins picked up his fourth triple of the spring to drive in Upton and give the Tigers a 2-0 lead. Andrew Bailey, who gave up the triple and the run, only pitched an inning of baseball. As a matter of fact, the Phillies sent out nine pitchers during the event and each went an inning before coming out of the game.
The Phillies got a run back in the bottom of the fourth and a run back in the bottom of the fifth to tie the game between the two squads. Cameron Rupp drove in Odubel Herrera with a double to right field and Freddy Galvis played long ball off Justin Verlander.
Verlander pitched 5.0 innings into the game and gave up three runs on seven hits and a walk. The 33-year-old registered two strikeouts. Late in the game, Verlander pinch hit for Upton to get ready to bat during the 2016 MLB Opening Day game against the Miami Marlins. Verlander put down a bunt and did not even run to first base because the ball bounced right back to the pitcher.
For the second time in the outing, Upton played long ball. In the top of the sixth inning, the outfielder clubbed a fly ball to center field that went well over the fence for a one run lead.
Cedric Hunter flew out to left field in the sixth inning, but it was deep enough to bring home Ryan Howard and give the Phillies their first lead of the game, 3-2. An inning later, Herrera singled in Emmanuel Burriss and Andres Blanco scored on a fielder's choice ground out by Ryan Howard. The first run came off Justin Wilson and the other two came against Mark Lowe.
Down 5-2, Tyler Collins hit his second triple of the game and fifth triple of the spring to score Ben Verlander, brother of Justin Verlander.
In the top of the ninth with Chris Leroux pitching, Gustavo Nunez singled up the middle. The hit allowed Mike Aviles and Rashad Brown to score. The Tigers took a 6-5 lead into the bottom of the inning with hopes of shutting the door.
Logan Kensing came in for the save and the 33-year-old got the job done with a perfect inning of baseball to finalize the 6-5 comeback win for Detroit.
The Tigers will play the Houston Astros, who will field a split squad, at 1:05 PM ET on Sunday. Mike Pelfrey will get the start and will be opposed by Mike Fiers. The Phillies will battle against the Boston Red Sox on the same day at the same time.