Is this what a strong, functioning Tigers club looks like? One where the pitching works, the offense shows up, and the team are really fun to watch? This is a preview of things to come for the Tigers over the coming seasons, and I think we can agree this was a fun, fun game, and I’d like a million more just like it.
It was set to be a battle between strong starting pitching with Casey Mize squaring off against Jack Flaherty. Since they were playing in St. Louis, it would also be Mize’s first time taking hacks from the batter’s box.
Flaherty started strong in the first, setting the Tigers down in order, then it turned over to Mize, who gave away a single to Edman to lead things off, then Edman successfully stole second, but the Cards were unable to make anything happen.
In the second, things got going for the Tigers early. Candelario drew a one-out walk, then Harold Castro singled. Greiner walked to load the bases, and then Hill singled to bring Candy home and put the Tigers on the board first. After Hill it was Mize’s turn, and wouldn’t you know it, in his first major league at-bat, Mize drew a bases-loaded walk, to walk in the second run of the game.
In the third inning, Mize issued a two-out walk, this one to DeJong, who was then caught stealing to end the inning. Going into the bottom of the third, the Tigers made a slash right out of the gate, first with Robbie Grossman hitting a solo homer, then Cabrera behind him with an effortless solo shot of his own that I’m pretty sure ended up in the third deck. 501.
Miggy’s wasting no time with home run No. 501! pic.twitter.com/vG4jokkwfT— Detroit Tigers (@tigers) August 25, 2021
The back-to-back home runs were the end of the game for Flaherty who clearly wasn’t feeling 100%. The remainder of the third was shut down in quick succession by reliever Daniel Ponce de Leon. The bottom of the inning saw another Mize walk issued to Edman, but no runs scored for the Cards.
In the top of the fourth inning the Tigers went 1-2-3, and while Carlson hit a double to lead off the bottom of the inning for the Cards, again no runs scored.
Ponce de Leon gave up back-to-back singles in the fifth inning to Cabrera and Candelario, which was the end of the night for him, giving way to old friend Andrew Miller who finished the inning without letting another Tigers run score. In the bottom of the fifth DeJong reached on an infield single but the Cards were left wanting, and scoreless. It was also the end of the night for Mize, whose final line for the game was 5.0 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 2 BB, 0 HR on a 76 pitch count.
Hyun Kim became the fourth Cardinals pitcher of the night and set the Tigers down in order. Funkhouser came on in the bottom of the inning in relief and returned the favor to the Cardinals, not allowing a single baserunner. The seventh inning was likewise uneventful, as Kim once again went 1-2-3 through the Tigers, and Funkhouser allowed only a leadoff single to Molina, with the inning ending as DeJong hit into a double play.
Cabrera drew a leadoff walk, and was then replaced with Zack Short as the baserunner. Then with two outs, Kim issued a walk to Greiner, and that was the end of the game for Kim. McFarland came off and finished off the side for the Cards. Unfortunately, things got bumpy for the Tigers in the bottom of the inning. Ramirez was on to pitch for the Tigers, and gave up a leadoff triple to Bader, a walk to Sosa, and then a groundout to Edman that scored Bader, putting the Cards on the board. Carlson reached on a hit-by-pitch, and the Tigers turned things over to Fulmer. Arenado then doubled to score Sosa and Carlson. Thankfully, Fulmer was able to shut things down from there, but a 4-0 lead became a 4-3 pretty quickly.
In the top of the ninth, the Tigers quickly got a baserunner in the form of a Daz Cameron double. Schoop grounded out to get Cameron to third, and then the Cards intentionally walked Grossman to get to Short. Two baserunners led to nothing as Short struck out to take things to the bottom of the ninth.
Side note but Lars Nootbaar, who arguably has the best name in baseball, might do better at the plate if his batting helmet wasn’t pulled down completely over his eyes. Just a thought.
Anyway, Nootbaar was the first out of the bottom of the inning, followed quickly by Rondon. Fulmer looked to be going strong with only one out left to finish the game. And win it they did, with Bader lining out, and the game ending in the Tigers’ favor.
Final: Tigers 4, Cardinals 3