LAKELAND, Fla. — The Detroit Tigers beat the New York Yankees, 8-7, on Friday at Publix Field at Joker Marchant Stadium.
The Tigers are 12-10 in Grapefruit League play.
In 22 games, the Tigers have crushed 38 home runs. Five of them occurred in the first five innings against the Yankees, thanks to Colt Keith, Riley Greene, Akil Baddoo and Andrew Knapp.
Andre Lipcius, recently optioned to Triple-A Toledo, put the Tigers on the scoreboard, 1-0, with an RBI single in the first inning. He fell behind 0-2 in the count before slapping a down-and-away curveball for a bloop single into right-center field.
Then, the power surge started.
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Keith, a 21-year-old prospect who hasn’t played above High-A West Michigan and won’t make the Opening Day roster, annihilated a first-pitch fastball from right-hander Domingo Germán in the second inning to put the Tigers ahead 2-0.
He hit the ball with a 111.4 mph exit velocity, and it traveled 427 feet to right-center field.
With that home run, Keith set a new personal high in exit velocity for fly balls and line drives in his professional career. His previous best, 108.3 mph, came on a line-drive single in the Arizona Fall League.
Right-hander Matt Manning needed an improved outing and delivered.
The 25-year-old tossed 3⅔ scoreless innings with one walk and four strikeouts, allowing just four hits. The highlight of his performance was escaping a bases-loaded, no-out jam in the second inning.
Manning allowed back-to-back singles to Estevan Florial and Wilmer Difo before walking Billy McKinney on five pitches. He responded by striking out Rodolfo Duran on four pitches, using three sliders and one fastball. The next two batters popped out and flied out.
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Manning utilized his fastball to strike out four batters: Oswald Peraza (called strike, 95.4 mph fastball), Isiah Kiner-Falefa (called strike, 94.4 mph sinker), Duran…
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