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Hill's strong start sets tone for Tigers' shutout

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JUPITER, Fla. -- Shawn Hill delivered his strongest outing this spring as the visiting Tigers defeated the Cardinals, 3-0, Saturday in front of a packed house of 7,629, the largest attendance at Roger Dean Stadium this spring.

Hill left after four innings of work with a 3-0 lead. The right-hander entered the game with a 9.00 ERA this spring, but had a sparkling effort Saturday, allowing only one hit with three strikeouts and one walk. He threw 57 pitches, 35 for strikes.

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"He did fine," Tigers manager Jim Leyland said. "He sunk the ball, kept the ball down, got some left-handers to hit the ball on the ground. I thought he did a good job. He attacked the strike zone pretty good."

Closer hopeful Bruce Rondon relieved Hill and walked one, but struck out the side.

Cardinals starter Jaime Garcia, who pitched five scoreless innings against the Mets in his last start Sunday, cruised through the Tigers lineup for the first three innings, allowing only one hit and registering four strikeouts.

The Tigers finally reached the Cardinals' left-hander in the fourth, when Nick Castellanos stroked a two-out double down the third-base line to score Jhonny Peralta and give Detroit a 1-0 lead. The Tigers added two more runs in top of the fifth, which Matt Tuiasosopo led off with a home run to left-center, his second homer this spring.

Don Kelly and Quintin Berry followed with back-to-back singles, and both advanced on a groundout by Austin Jackson before Kelly scored on a Ramon Kelly sacrifice fly.

Garcia, who had allowed just two runs in 10 innings of work this spring entering the game, exited the game after five innings. He allowed three earned runs on six hits, with no walks and four strikeouts. He threw 81 pitches, 52 for strikes.

Up next: Left-hander Drew Smyly (3-0) makes his fifth Grapefruit League start when the Tigers face the Nationals at Joker Marchant Stadium at 1:05 p.m. ET. Smyly has a 1.46 ERA, and the game will be available on Gameday Audio.

Steve Dorsey is a contributor to

Detroit Tigers, Nick Castellanos, Shawn Hill, Bruce Rondon, Matt Tuiasosopo