The Cardinals Major League Notebook 06/17

Of all the pitchers the Cardinals could break out of their hitting slump against, Detroit's Justin Verlander would be among the last choices. Verlander was 8-0 in interleague play and 7-0 with a 1.10 ERA in his last nine starts before Tuesday.

But in a 14-hit attack against Verlander and a couple of successors, every hitter in the St. Louis starting lineup either scored a run or drove one in, except for Colby Rasmus, who fanned twice and hit into a double play. It was the first double play grounded into by Rasmus in 187 big-league at-bats.

A four-run first inning was marked by Cardinals hitters, whether swinging late at Verlander's high-90s fastball or planning to, taking Verlander the other way.

Skip Schumaker, a left-handed batter, doubled to left. After Albert Pujols was walked intentionally, Chris Duncan, a left-handed hitter, singled to left, loading the bases. And Yadier Molina(notes), a right-handed batter, fought off several pitchers before dropping a two-run single into right off a down-and-away pitch.

"If he gets Yadi out, that might be our last rally," manager Tony La Russa said.

Schumaker, who had three hits after a 3-for-20 trip, said the Cardinals' strategy was that "we tried not to spot (Verlander) a strike."

Joe Thurston, who has been cold lately, doubled home a first-inning run and forced home another with a bases-loaded walk in the fifth. Pujols homered for the fifth time in his last five games.

Pujols' monstrous, 446-foot shot in the sixth, his league-leading 23rd homer of the season, was followed by Duncan's fifth. It was the first time this season the Cardinals had homered back-to-back.

"You can't figure this game at all," La Russa said of his team assaulting one of the game's best pitchers. "If you think you've got this game figured out, you might as well walk away."

In their last home series, the Cardinals had been swept by Colorado, which outscored them 33-9.

Cardinals 11, Tigers 2: Adam Wainwright, already leading the team with six wins, gained his seventh with seven strong innings, allowing only Brandon Inge's solo homer in the sixth. The Cardinals scored four runs in the first, the most runs they had scored in that inning all season.

Notes, Quotes

• RHP Adam Wainwright (7-4) might have done his best pitching in the first inning Tuesday. Don Kelly opened with a triple, and the Tigers would load the bases on two walks, but Wainwright made a good fielding play on Magglio Ordonez's bouncer up the middle and closed out the inning with no damage by getting Brandon Inge on a fly to center. "If they score first and we don't score (the Cardinals got four in their first), it's a different game," Cardinals manager Tony La Russa said.

• 1B Albert Pujols was intentionally walked with first base open his first two times up Tuesday, as Detroit manager Jim Leyland had said that he wasn't going to let Pujols beat him, "even if Dizzy Dean is pitching." It pushed Pujols' intentional-walk total to 20. Pujols' homer in the sixth inning came with nobody on base.

• The Cardinals have beaten Detroit four consecutive times in new Busch Stadium, including the last three games of the 2006 World Series.


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