Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Former Suns Get Burned Marlins Defeat Tigers as Pitchers Battered

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Former Suns Get Burned Marlins Defeat Tigers as Pitchers Battered

Article excerpt

For Detroit Tigers pitcher Brian Moehler, yesterday's spring

training game against the Florida Marlins was a homecoming of

sorts. During the 1995 and '96 seasons, Moehler pitched for the

Jacksonville Suns, the Tigers' Double-A farm club, and clinched

the '96 Southern League title with a four-hitter in Game 4

against Chattanooga.

Things didn't go as well yesterday. Moehler failed to get out

of the second inning in his start against the Marlins, taking an

8-6 loss in front of 8,166 fans at Wolfson Park.

"Mechanically, I was just a wreck out there," Moehler said. "I

had a hard time getting the ball over the plate. Any time you're

battling hitters 2-1, 3-1 or 3-0 [in the count], you're going to

get hurt. It doesn't matter if you pitch A ball or in the big

leagues. If you get behind, you're going to get burned."

Moehler's troubles began in earnest in the second inning. He

surrendered a pair of singles and hit a batter to load the bases

with no outs. Moehler walked Chris Caplinski to force in Josh

Booty with the game's first run. Moehler then gave up an RBI

single to Ryan Robertson and an RBI double to Cliff Floyd. The

damage could have been more severe. The Marlins had runners

thrown out at home plate on Robertson's and Floyd's hits.

Following a walk to Dave Berg, Moehler was pulled in favor of

Roberto Duran, another former Sun.

"I wanted to get off to a good start," Moehler said. "I wanted

to be steamrolling into spring training. It can't get any worse;

it can only get better. That's the way I'm looking at it."

Things did get worse for Duran.

After getting out of the second, he was touched for five runs

in the third. Booty drilled a two-run home run and, five batters

later, Floyd launched a titanic three-run shot over the right

field wall, giving the Marlins an 8-1 advantage and enough

offensive support for starter and winner Felix Heredia.

"The double in the first and the home run may have been two of

the hardest hit balls I've seen in my life," said Booty of

Floyd's hitting. …

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