Gonzales flaunts changeup with K of Stanton

Lefty sidesteps trouble in working into fifth inning against Marlins

Gonzales flaunts changeup with K of Stanton

JUPITER, Fla. -- After becoming the first Cardinals pitcher to throw four innings in a spring game last week, Marco Gonzales became the first to pitch into the fifth during Tuesday's 7-1 win over the Marlins. He finished 4 2/3 innings in his third Grapefruit League start, throwing 67 pitches, 41 of which were strikes.

Gonzales described his still-developing curveball as the best he's had this spring, though it was his two best pitches -- the fastball and changeup -- that helped the left-hander notch two of his biggest outs in the game.

Gonzales escaped a bases-loaded jam in the third by getting Miami's Jeff Baker to chase a sinking fastball. Two innings earlier, he notched an inning-ending strikeout against Giancarlo Stanton, who missed on a changeup.

Gonzales on solid spring start

"It was just something I wanted to show him, that I can throw strikes and can be on either side of the plate," Gonzales said of the changeup. "To do it to Giancarlo in the first inning was huge. It got the ball rolling for me and helped me establish both sides of the plate."

Other news items from the day:

• The Cardinals had Gonzales hit for himself on Tuesday, marking the first time this spring that the club has not employed a designated hitter. Matheny said the Marlins initially made the request to have the pitchers bat for themselves, and the Cardinals obliged. Gonzales sparked a three-run inning by delivering an RBI single with two outs in the fourth.

Gonzales' RBI single

"It adds the element of, 'You get to contribute every inning,'" said Gonzales, a two-way player in college. "You have to be locked in. Sometimes when you get DHed for, you sit there and kind of think about your outing. When you're hitting, you think about other things."

The Cardinals will go back to utilizing a DH through Monday, with the exception of Saturday's game against the Braves. After an off-day next week, the team will bat its pitcher every game.

• With his fifth-inning home run, Jhonny Peralta became the Cardinals' first projected starting position player to go deep this spring. Since starting the spring 0-for-13, Peralta has collected four hits in as many at-bats.

Peralta's solo homer

"You could tell he was just a click off," Matheny said. "He said that a few days ago, that he was right around the corner. Jhonny knows what he's doing."

• Matheny confirmed that the Cardinals have plans to play Pete Kozma in center field before the Grapefruit League season ends. Kozma, a natural shortstop, continued his tour around the field on Tuesday with time in left field and at third base.

• Though the team is off on Wednesday, right-hander Lance Lynn will report to the complex to throw a few innings in a simulated game. Center fielder Jon Jay, who has yet to appear in a Grapefruit League game, is expected to take several at-bats against Lynn.

• Matheny confirmed that left-hander Jaime Garcia will draw his third start of the spring on Thursday. Michael Wacha will start on Friday, followed by ace Adam Wainwright a day later.

Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, By Gosh, It's Langosch, follow her on Twitter @LangoschMLB and like her Facebook page Jenifer Langosch for Cardinals.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.