Cervelli, Mercer power Bucs' balanced effort

Cervelli, Mercer power Bucs' balanced effort

LAKELAND, Fla. -- Francisco Cervelli and Jordy Mercer homered to power the Pirates' offense early before Alen Hanson's RBI bloop single put Pittsburgh ahead for good in the seventh, sending the Bucs to a 4-2 win over the Tigers on Tuesday in both teams' Grapefruit League opener at Joker Marchant Stadium.

"I was lucky, man," Cervelli said of his homer. "Just swing the bat and then the ball's gone. That's it."

Spring Training information: Pirates | Tigers

Victor Martinez, batting left-handed, pulled a Rob Scahill pitch just over the right-field fence for a game-tying two-run home run in the sixth inning, but the Pirates needed little time to pull back ahead. Adam Frazier's triple off Logan Kensing set up the opportunity for Hanson, whose loft to shallow left fell just out of reach of former Pirates prospect JaCoby Jones at short.

"There's no question a healthy Victor Martinez makes a big difference," said Tigers manager Brad Ausmus, who watched the switch-hitting Martinez bat just .219 from the left side last year.

Former Tigers lefty Kyle Lobstein, acquired by the Pirates on waivers in December, delivered two scoreless innings despite issuing back-to-back walks to Justin Upton and Miguel Cabrera in the first. Lobstein ended the threat with a double-play grounder off the bat of Martinez. A lunging grab and tumbling toss from Cole Figueroa at third base ended another threat in the fourth with an inning-ending double play.

Tigers starter Matt Boyd gave up Cervelli's homer in the first but stranded two runners in scoring position the next inning. Detroit's top prospect, righty Michael Fulmer, tossed two scoreless innings of relief on two hits and a walk, helped by a sliding stop by Cabrera and a diving catch from center fielder Wynton Bernard.

Hurdle on Cervelli's progression

Up next for the Tigers: Detroit will play its first split-squad set on Wednesday, with both games on the road. Mike Pelfrey will make his first appearance as a Tiger when he takes the mound against the Yankees in a 1:05 p.m. ET start in Tampa, Fla., airing on MLB.TV, Gameday Audio and MLB Network. Upton, Ian Kinsler and Anthony Gose are among the regulars making the trip. Meanwhile, Buck Farmer will start against the Pirates at the same time in Bradenton, Fla., where Jose Iglesias, Nick Castellanos and James McCann are slated to start.

Up next for the Pirates: McKechnie Field will host Pittsburgh's Grapefruit League home opener on Wednesday as the Bucs and split-squad Tigers meet again on an exclusive Pirates.com webcast. Left-hander Jeff Locke, a lock for the Opening Day starting rotation, will make his first start of the spring, testing out the modified windup he's been working on for the last two months. Relievers Jared Hughes and Arquimedes Caminero are also scheduled to pitch. Right-handers Juan Nicasio and Jorge Rondon and lefty Eric O'Flaherty will make their Pirates debuts. 

Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. Read Beck's Blog, follow him on Twitter @beckjason and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.