LAKELAND, Fla. -- Brandon Beachy is not backing down from the fifth-starter competition in the Braves' rotation. In fact, he might have improved his chances against the Tigers at Joker Marchant Stadium on Saturday.
Under the watchful eye of manager Fredi Gonzalez -- who made the trip rather than stay home during a split-squad doubleheader -- Beachy twirled five shutout innings and moved his Grapefruit League ERA to 1.80 in the Braves' 2-1 loss.
Andy Dirks delivered a double to plate Brennan Boesch and Scott Sizemore off Braves reliever Arodys Vizcaino in the ninth, the first runs Vizcaino has given up in four Spring Training games.
Beachy, who has given up three runs in 10 Grapefruit League frames, needed nearly 30 pitches to get through the first inning, but seemed to go on cruise control from there. He finished with one hit and three walks while throwing 50 of his 84 pitches for strikes.
"I was really struggling to throw my off-speed [pitch] early on," Beachy said. "I was not happy about that at all. As the game went on, I started throwing some curveballs for strikes, which made my slider more effective and my fastball came down in the zone."
On the other side, Rick Porcello nearly matched him pitch for pitch. The 22-year-old right-hander gave up one run on three hits and three walks in 4 2/3 innings, and he has a 3.12 Grapefruit League ERA after his start.
Jordan Schafer led off the game with a triple, then scored on an Alex Gonzalez single to give the Braves an early lead.
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Sights & Sounds
Spring Training Info
In Lake Buena Vista, Fla., Rodrigo Lopez gave up one earned run (three total) in 4 2/3 innings and tossed 93 pitches in the Braves' tilt against the Mets. Mike Minor, the third candidate to be the Braves' fifth starter, gave up four runs in six innings during a Minor League game.
Up next for Braves: The Braves host the Astros at Champion Stadium at 1:05 p.m. ET on Sunday, with the game available on MLB.TV. Recently named Opening Day starter Derek Lowe will get the nod and will be followed by righty Peter Moylan, and lefties George Sherrill and Eric O'Flaherty. Lowe has given up just one run in 14 Grapefruit League innings this spring (a 0.64 ERA).
Up next for Tigers: The Tigers head to Viera, Fla., on Sunday for a 1:05 p.m. game against the Nationals on MLB.TV. Justin Verlander will get the start for Detroit and will be followed by a trio of candidates for the final bullpen spots -- right-hander Enrique Gonzalez, and left-handers Fu-Te Ni and Brad Thomas. The Nationals will start fifth-starter candidate Chad Gaudin, followed by righties Todd Coffey, Henry Rodriguez and Drew Storen.
Alden Gonzalez is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his columns and his blog, listen to his podcast and follow him on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.