Game 39 – Tigers 14, Cardinals 4

On Friday night, the home Detroit Tigers spanked Braden Looper and his visiting St. Louis Cardinals mates in the first of the weekend series.

The St. Louis Cardinals returned to Detroit to face the Tigers for the first time since last October and came away whipped in a 14-4 loss on Friday night. The Cardinals have lost three in a row since their last win, a victory in the first game in their series against the Los Angeles Dodgers earlier in the week. St. Louis (16-23) could not find a rhythm until late in the game, when the bullpen stopped the Tigers (25-16) and the offense scored four runs in the last three innings.

Detroit rookie call-up Andrew Miller went six innings without allowing a Cardinals' run. Miller allowed only seven baserunners (four hits, three walks) and struck out two in his first career MLB start. Albert Pujols reached base three times against Miller, and had a season high four hits on the game. He walked once, singled three times, and hit a solo home run, his seventh of the season.

The game got off to a quick start for the Tigers as they scored two runs in the first off Cardinals' starter Braden Looper (5-3) when Gary Sheffield hit a two-run home run. In the third, Magglio Ordonez hit a solo shot, as well. Braden Looper only went four innings while giving up seven runs, two of which were to come in the fourth inning. Curtis Granderson's sacrfice fly brought home Sean Casey, and Placido Palanco hit an RBI double to increase the lead to 5-0 Tigers. Looper allowed two more hits and was removed from the game in the fifth.

Kelvin Jimenez came in a relief role, and allowed both runners to score to increase Looper's earned run total to seven for the night. Jimenez would struggle mightily against a surging Detroit lineup, as he walked one, gave up a single, got a ground out, and then allowed another walk before the Tigers pounded out four straight hits against the young Cardinals' reliever. That hit streak did not continue uninterrupted against the next pitcher, Russ Springer, who got Carlos Guillen to fly out before a two-base hit off the bat of Ivan Rodriguez pushed in two more runs. Detroit scored nine runs in the inning and had 13 batters come to the plate in the fifth frame in all.

The Cardinals scored two runs in the seventh when So Taguchi and Chris Duncan hit consecutive doubles and Pujols followed with his third single on the night. In the eighth, Gary Bennett reached base on a fielder's choice, advanced to third on an error, and scored on David Eckstein's base hit. The fourth and final run came in the top of the ninth on Pujols' fourth hit of the night, a solo home run to right field.

St. Louis plays Detroit Saturday at 6:05 PM CDT at Detroit with Anthony Reyes (0-6) on the mound against Nate Robertson (3-3).

Game Notes:

- With all the bad pitching and bad offense in this game, Albert Pujols and Yadier Molina stuck out as bright spots. Pujols had a great game, going 4-for-4 at the plate with a home run. He reached base four times (three base hits and a walk) and hit the solo home run. He did not make an out in the evening. Molina extended his hitting streak to 11 games with a double in the second inning.

- This team looked horrible out there. Changes need to be made soon. In the starting rotation, there are three career MLB bullpen pitchers, including Adam Wainwright, Braden Looper, and Brad Thompson. The other two pitchers, Anthony Reyes and Kip Wells, are a combined 1-14 on the mound. Pitching help is needed badly.

- I'm headed to St. Louis next weekend for the Nationals' series. Looking forward to it, but along with the rest of the fans who pay for tickets, I hope they can win a few games.

Brady Holzhauer can be reached via email at

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