LAKELAND, Fla. (AP) — Jhonny Peralta homered twice against his former team, going deep in his only plate appearances Monday in the St. Louis Cardinals' 8-5 loss to the Detroit Tigers.
Peralta played for the Tigers for three and a half seasons before signing with St. Louis as a free agent this offseason. He said Cardinals manager Mike Matheny asked a couple days earlier if he wanted to make the spring training trip to Lakeland to face Detroit. Peralta accepted that offer — then made his visit worthwhile with two solo homers off left-hander Drew Smyly.
Peralta's first homer came on the first pitch he saw.
"First pitch — fastball," Peralta said. "And then Smyly said something to me. I don't know he said, but he was kidding around."
Smyly clarified moments later.
"I said, 'I don't think I've seen you swing at the first pitch like that in the two years I've known you,'" he said.
Nick Castellanos homered for the Tigers. Castellanos, Miguel Cabrera, Victor Martinez and Austin Jackson had two hits apiece.
Detroit, which played a 10-inning scoreless tie against Atlanta on Sunday, scored seven runs in the first three innings Monday.
Cardinals: Joe Kelly gave up RBI singles to Martinez and Jackson in the first. He allowed two runs, two hits and two walks in 1 2-3 innings, striking out two.
Kelly is in the mix for a spot in the St. Louis rotation. His outing wasn't great Monday, and Boone Whiting followed by allowing five runs — four earned — in one inning.
Tigers: Smyly allowed two runs and three hits in three innings, striking out two. Peralta's first homer was a towering drive to left field. The second was an opposite-field shot that cleared the wall in right with help from the wind.
"That first one might have created the wind that allowed the second one to go out," Detroit manager Brad Ausmus joked.