Feb 27, 2014; Lakeland, FL, USA; Detroit Tigers center fielder Austin Jackson (14) drives the ball into the outfield during the sixth inning against the Atlanta Braves at Joker Marchant Stadium. Detroit Tigers defeated the Atlanta Braves 5-2. Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports
Behind a five-run outburst in the third inning, the Detroit Tigers picked up their fourth Grapefruit League victory on Monday after defeating the St.Louis Cardinals, 8-5.
The five-run third inning was highlighted by an Austin Jackson two-run double that plated Miguel Cabrera and Victor Martinez, and Rajai Davis‘s single followed by a two base error from Cardinals right fielder Randal Grichuk that led to Danny Worth and Nick Castellanos scoring runs for the Tigers.
Drew Smyly made his second start of Grapefruit League play as he faced fourteen batters over three innings pitched. Smyly allowed two runs on three hits with a two strikeouts. His two earned runs came off the bat of former Tiger Jhonny Peralta, who hit two solo home runs in his only plate apperances for the Cardinals.
Despite only having three projected Opening Day starters in their lineup, the Cardinals were able to made a dent in the Tigers’ six-run lead during the sixth inning when five batters in a row reached base.
Phil Coke met his match as he faced an array of left-handed hitters that inning which has been his kryptonite as a member of the Tigers. Coke pitched the entire sixth inning allowing three runs on six hits with one strikeout, making it an 8-5 game.
The bullpen recovered after the sixth, pitching three straight scoreless innings en route to the victory.
- The Tigers new-look offense, accompanied with plenty of speed in 2014, was on display in the first inning. Martinez ripped a line drive single that brought home Ian Kinsler from second base which he stole during the previous at-bat. Cabrera, not known for his base running skills, went first-to-third on Martinez’s single, something that the Tigers are hoping to improve on in 2014 instead of relying on stationary baseball. It’s always a good sign when your top hitter and leader of the lineup is getting that extra 90 feet on the base paths.
- Evan Reed had a 1-2-3 inning in the third that included two strikeouts and a fastball that read 102 mph on the radar gun. Reed, who made his MLB debut in 2013 at 27 years old, appeared in 16 games for the Tigers and totaled 23.1 innings with a 4.24 ERA. Reed is battling for a spot in the bullpen this spring but has plenty of competition among right-handed pitchers.
- Rajai Davis committed the only error for the Tigers on a fly ball in left field that gave him trouble because of the strong winds blowing out in left and center field at Joker Marchant Stadium in Lakeland, Fla.
- Castellanos slugged the Tigers’ first home run of Spring Training in his third at-bat of the game.
- Jackson batted in the sixth spot of the order and took advantage of having runners on base in front of him as he collected three RBI in three plate apperances.
- Reed, Al Alburquerque, Jose Ortega, Luis Marte and Melvin Mercedes pitch five scoreless innings out of the bullpen for the Tigers.
Box Score Highlights
- M. Cabrera: 2-for-2, two RBI and two runs
- V. Martinez: 2-for-3, 2B, one RBI and one run
- A. Jackson: 2-for-3, 2B, K, three RBI and one run
- N. Castellanos: 2-for-3, HR, two RBI and two runs
- Devon Travis went 1-for-2 with a single in the bottom of the eighth inning. Travis took over for Kinsler at second base in the sixth inning. The Florida State product is 4-for-7 so far this spring, good for a .571 batting average.
- Jordan Lennerton, Stephen Moya and Hernan Perez all entered the game as well, but were unable to record a hit for the Tigers.
The Tigers will take on the Pittsburgh Pirates on Tuesday at Joker Marchant Stadium. Rick Porcello is scheduled to make his second start this spring. First pitch is set for 1:05 p.m. local time.