Simon sharp, Victor Martinez homers as Tigers beat Rays 1-0

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) Alfredo Simon allowed one hit over five innings, Victor Martinez hit his second home run and the Detroit Tigers beat the Tampa Bay Rays 1-0 Saturday in the spring training finale for both teams.

Martinez, coming back from knee surgery, hit a leadoff homer in the second inning against Rays newcomer Erasmo Ramirez.

''Victor only knows one way to hit, whether it's an exhibition game or Game 7 of the World Series,'' Tigers manager Brad Ausmus said. ''Vic is going to battle with every ounce of his energy.''

Martinez went for 1 for 3 and ended the exhibition season hitting .143 (5 for 35).

Simon retired his first 14 batters before Desmond Jennings singled with two outs in the fifth. He struck out three.

''His curveball was very good,'' Ausmus said.

Joba Chamberlain and five other relievers completed a two-hitter.

Ramirez, acquired from Seattle on Tuesday and a top candidate for the fourth starter role, entered in the second and gave up one run, two hits and struck out six in 3 2-3 innings.

''I missed one pitch and he made me pay for that,'' Ramirez said. ''But after that pitch I just realized what I have to do, just be myself and be on the same page as the catcher and execute the pitch.''

''Everything was new for me, but at the same time, everybody made me feel comfortable. I feel like I'm home, don't feel like a new guy, just like one more teammate,'' he said.

STARTING TIME

Tigers: Simon threw 50 pitches, including 37 strikes.

Rays: RHP Matt Andriese struck out one during a perfect first inning. He is in the mix for a back of the rotation spot.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Tigers: RHP Justin Verlander (strained right triceps), who will open the season on the DL, is tentatively scheduled to make his first regular season start April 12 at Cleveland.

''Verlander threw and felt extremely good,'' Ausmus said. ''So, it's all positive news. He is, right now unless something happens overnight, will throw a light bullpen (Sunday).''

Rays: LHP Drew Smyly (shoulder tendinitis) threw a simulated game and should be back late this month. ... Tampa Bay will start the regular season without four starting pitchers: Smyly, Alex Cobb (forearm tendinitis), Matt Moore (left elbow ligament replacement surgery) and Alex Colome (pneumonia). Also sidelined is closer Jake McGee (left elbow surgery).

''We're going to be tested out of the gate,'' Rays president of baseball operations Matt Silverman said.

THUMBS UP OR DOWN?

Ausmus said there was some confusion about his challenge in the ninth when Tampa Bay's Brandon Guyer stole second base. With the manager having to make the call from the dugout this season, Ausmus said at first the umpires thought he wasn't going to ask for the replay.

''There's almost got to be a system, green card or red card, something,'' Ausmus said. ''It would just make it easier. Maybe it's just a thumbs-up or thumbs-down type of thing.''

Ausmus may talk with MLB official Joe Torre to review the matter.

The call was upheld after a 73-second review.

UP NEXT

Tigers: LHP David Price will start Monday's season opener against Minnesota. It's his fourth opening day assignment and first with the Tigers.

Rays: RHP Chris Archer will face Baltimore RHP Chris Tillman in Monday's regular season opener at Tropicana Field.

HONORING ZIM

The Rays will retire uniform No. 66 in honor of team senior adviser Don Zimmer in a pregame ceremony before Monday's game. Zimmer, who died last June, was in uniform for 55 major league opening days.

SI Apps
We've Got Apps Too
Get expert analysis, unrivaled access, and the award-winning storytelling only SI can provide — from Peter King, Tom Verducci, Lee Jenkins, Grant Wahl, Andy Staples and more — delivered straight to you, along with up-to-the-minute news and live scores.