NOAH TRISTER, AP Baseball Writer
KISSIMMEE, Fla. (AP) — Detroit’s Anibal Sanchez allowed one hit in two scoreless innings Sunday in a game that eventually ended in a 0-0, 10-inning tie between the Tigers and an Atlanta Braves split squad.
Sanchez was the American League’s ERA leader last year, and he struck out 17 against Atlanta in an electrifying April outing. The Braves struck out only once this time in Sanchez’s abbreviated start.
Ryan Doumit doubled to lead off the Atlanta second and went to third on a groundout by Chris Johnson that nearly hit Sanchez. The Detroit right-hander shook off that close call, striking out Dan Uggla and getting Joey Terdoslavich on a groundout to end the inning.
“I don’t think too much about the situation right now,” Sanchez said. “If Doumit scores or not … right now, I work more on my command.”
The 0-0 tie came one day after the Braves lost to Washington 16-15.
Braves: Left-hander Alex Wood, who is expected to compete for a job in the rotation, allowed three hits in two innings, striking out two.
Wood was helped by two double plays. Torii Hunter grounded into one in the first after Ezequiel Carrera and Victor Martinez hit back-to-back singles. The Tigers also had runners at first and second with one out in the second when Bryan Holaday lined into a double play.
“Last year, I came in with more of a sense of, ‘I’m here to learn,'” said Wood, who made 31 appearances and 11 starts for Atlanta in 2013. “This year for me, I don’t know if you’d call it a chip on your shoulder, but you come in here trying to win a job. Nothing’s been given to me — they haven’t told me anything.”
“I’m just coming in here every day and trying to win a job. There aren’t many things that I’ve tried to do in my baseball career that I haven’t been able to achieve,” he said.
Tigers: Sanchez said he was joking around with Johnson not long before he was nearly struck by the Atlanta third baseman’s sharply hit ball up the middle.
“I said, ‘Don’t swing today!'” Sanchez said. “He swings, and he almost hit me.”
It was a close call for Sanchez, but the play ended up as a groundout to second.
Detroit had seven hits to Atlanta’s six, but this game stayed scoreless, in part because there were seven double plays. The Braves turned four of them.
There was also a baserunning blunder that ended an Atlanta rally in the sixth. Andrelton Simmons tried to go from first to third on Freddie Freeman’s single to right. The relay beat Simmons by about 25 feet for the final out of the inning.
Detroit left-hander Robbie Ray, who was acquired from Washington in the deal that sent Doug Fister to the Nationals this offseason, pitched two innings. He allowed two hits and a walk, but he got Simmons to bounce into a double play with two on in the third, and Doumit grounded into one the following inning after Freeman’s leadoff single.
Tigers ace Justin Verlander threw a 30-pitch bullpen session, and manager Brad Ausmus expects him to make his first start of the spring against a Philadelphia split squad Thursday.
Verlander had surgery in January following a groin injury.
“I think the feeling from the get-go was that, because of the type of shape he kept himself in, this was a guy that might have the ability to be back in time to start the regular season,” Ausmus said. “It seems like he’s on track for that right now.”
(© Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)