With a game-time starting temperature of 92, it was going to be a warm one for the Tigers as they closed out their last game of the season with the St. Louis Cardinals. On the mound was Tarik Skubal, who at least had the security going in that the Tigers had already won the season series against the Cards.
Skubal had himself an excellent start, don’t let his two runs given up fool you, he was striking out Cards left, right, and center and really showing how he’s blossomed as a young pitcher this season. But let’s dive into how he got there.
It was Lester on the mound to start things for the Cards, and while he issued a one-out walk to Schoop, then a single to Grossman (can we talk about how good Robbie Grossman has been this season?), Candelario grounded into a double play to end the inning. Turning things over to Skubal, Goldschmidt got a one-out solo home run to put the Cards on the board first, but otherwise it was all swinging strikeouts.
In the second Lester gave up a single to Willi Castro, who was then caught stealing second. Garneau doubled, and then... Short was intentionally walked? Zack Short? Guess that’s what you do with the pitcher coming up to bat, and it worked for them, so who am I to judge? In the bottom of the second Sosa was hit by a pitch to reach base, but otherwise, again, all swinging strikeouts.
Schoop got a double in the top of the third, but was the only Tiger to reach base, and in the bottom of the inning it was once again a solo homer from Paul Goldschmidt that was the only mistake Skubal made. Two on the board for the Cards and they were both from Goldy.
Lester allowed a Castro single in the top of the fourth, but Willi was quickly erased by the double play to end the inning. On the Tigers side of the inning it was 1-2-3 in quick succession for Skubal.
Onto the fifth and Derek Hill got himself a two-out double off of Lester, then Schoop singled to drive Hill home, putting the Tigers on the board at last. In the bottom of the inning Skubal gave up a walk to Rondon, then Edman singled, but in spite of the first rocky moments of the game, no runs scored. It was also the end of the day for Skubal, whose final line was 5.0 IP, 3 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 10 K, 2 HR on 85 pitches.
Tarik Skubal has struck out 10 in today's game, recording his second career 10+ strikeout game (other, 11 strikeouts on 6/5/21 at CWS).— Tigers PR (@DetroitTigersPR) August 25, 2021
Skubal joins Alek Manoah and Triston McKenzie as the only MLB rookies to have multiple 10+ strikeouts games this season.
In the top of the sixth with Lester also out of the game, Candelario got a leadoff double off reliever Garcia, but he was unable to score. Alex Lange was on for relief for the Tigers in the bottom of the inning. With two outs he hit DeJong to issue a free walk, then walked Sosa to put two on, but neither man scored.
The Tigers went 1-2-3 in the top of the seventh. Joe Jimenez came on for the Tigers in the bottom of the inning as we all held our collective breath he hit Knizer with a pitch (the third HBP of the day for the Tigers), but aside from a single to Edman he managed to keep the damage off the scoreboard.
Red-hot Schoop got a leadoff double in the top of the eighth, with the Tigers hoping to tie things up, but they were unable to get him home, and the inning ended with no change to the score. In the bottom half of the eighth Lars Nootbaar drew a walk off of Cisnero, but the Cardinals were likewise unable to get any runs.
In the top of the ninth, on their last legs, Cabrera was in to pinch-hit for Short. He managed a nicely placed double to right with two outs. The Tigers had a man in scoring position with Harold Castro the Tigers' last hope. And Castro extended the hope with a double to center that scored Cabrera easily. Things were all tied going into the bottom of the ninth. Soto was on for the Tigers in the bottom of the inning and took care of the Cards in order. Onto the tenth!
In the tenth with the default runner on, Grossman managed a one-out walk, but Candelario grounded into a double play to end the inning. In the bottom of the tenth, with Fulmer pitching for the Tigers, Goldschmidt got an intentional walk to put two on, then with one out, Arenado was also intentionally walked to load the bases. DeJong hit into a fielder’s choice and they went for the force out at home to keep the inning alive. An RBI single from Lars Nootbaar did the Tigers in, though, as they finished the game in the tenth.
Final: Cardinals 3, Tigers 2