DETROIT--Max Scherzer looked like he was in mid-season form as he pitched 4 2/3 solid innings Monday against the St. Louis Cardinals. Of the 56 pitches he threw, 37 were strikes; he struck out five while allowing no runs on two hits and only walked the leadoff man in the first inning.
As flawless as his performance was though, which included a wicked changeup and slider, it was the Tigers offense that stole the show.
Rajai Davis started out the merry-go-round third inning by knocking a single to left field, to which he quickly added a stolen base, although he didn't need to.
Miguel Cabrera, who was laughing it up with the umpire during his second at-bat, properly smacked his first home run of spring training on a 1-0 pitch to the outside corner that carried easily over the right field line.
All Shelby Miller could do was shake his head as it sailed over the wall and his day came to an abrupt close. Lee Stoppleman replaced Miller but things just snowballed on him too.
Nick Castellanos had an RBI single, Steven Moya tripled for two RBI, Danny Worth doubled to bring Moya home and Davis went two for two in one inning as he drove in the seventh RBI to round out the third.
As if that wasn't cruel enough, the Tigers gave a repeat performance of their previous inning that probably made the Cardinals wonder why they even bothered to play this game.
Castellanos embarrassed Tyler Lyons with a 3-run homer that shot out of the park to the dead center 400' mark like it had somewhere important to be. Worth, Davis and Ezequiel Carrera all doubled to bring home an RBI each.
Cabrera is not to be outdone however so when he came to the plate for the second time in the fourth inning he shot another two-run homer out the park, this time directly to center field just to the left of the 400' sign.
Forget about spring training, Miggy is in mid-season form and then some.
Cabrera reportedly had been hitting homers out of the park consistently in batting practice but all he had produced during games up to this point were singles and a couple of doubles.
All that changed Monday when his second home run of the game, and spring training, brought the score to 15-0 Tigers.
The Tigers added to their destructive force in the seventh inning when they scored two more on a double by Moya who came up a home run shy of hitting for the cycle.
The Tigers allowed the Cardinals four runs in the bottom of the seventh including a 3-run homer, and an RBI in the ninth. The final score: Tigers 17, Cardinals 5 with no errors from either team. The Tigers knocked in 17 of their 22 hits and the Cardinals plated five of eight hits.
Tuesday right-handed pitcher Justin Verlander takes the mound for his first game of spring training, and the first since his surgery. Depending on his pitch count he will go for two innings, possibly more if he feels up to it and can keep his pitch count low.
The Tigers will face the Toronto Blue Jays split squad at home Tuesday in Joker Marchant Stadium. There is no broadcast scheduled on Fox Sports Detroit; however, there will be audio of the game which is available at tigers.com and WXYT 1270 AM.
QUICK NOTE: Following Monday's game, MLB beat writer Jason Beck reported that Tigers manager Brad Ausmus said Andy Dirks' back surgery went well and that he is resting comfortably. He is expected to miss the next 12 weeks in order to fully recover from the surgery. The goal on Dirks' return is sometime in early June.