Tigers 8, Cardinals 5: Big 3rd inning lifts Detroit

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Jhonny Peralta homered twice, but the Tigers rode a hot start to the victory at Joker Marchant Stadium on Monday.

Former Tiger Jhonny Peralta hit two home runs in the game's first three innings, but Detroit stormed back against the Cardinals for the 8-5 victory in front of 7,945 at Joker Marchant Stadium.

Peralta's first home run was a no-doubter to left field, while the second was definitely aided by a strong wind to right field.

"The first one may have created the wind that allowed the second one to go out," Ausmus joked after the game.

Austin Jackson went 2-for-3 to raise his batting average this spring to .636, while also driving in a trio of runs.

Nick Castellanos went 2-for-3, scoring a pair and driving in a pair, including a fifth-inning home run. That shot to the left-field berm was Detroit's first home run of spring training, a fact Ausmus tabbed as more of an anomaly as anything else.

In the field at third base, Castellanos made one assist but also allowed a hit to get by him on a hard hop. Ausmus called that more of a timing issue, saying he probably makes the play a month from now but he's still adjusting to his return to the infield.

Drew Smyly allowed three hits in 13 batters faced and picked up the win.

Phil Coke, in relief, gave up six hits and three runs, facing just eight batters. That was not a concern for Ausmus.

"Phil's generally a slow starter, in terms of his breaking ball and his velocity," Ausmus said.

Coke has been known to throw in the 82-84 mph range early in the season but was up around 88-90, Ausmus noted.

"I'm not overly concerned about the outing today," he said. "In the big picture, he's ahead."

Notes:

-- Lefty Duane Below experienced a relapse of elbow pain after making his first spring appearance Thursday. He saw a doctor today but results were not known.

-- Evan Reed tossed a perfect fourth inning for Detroit, striking out two.

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