Jeimer Candelario’s two-run homer Thursday broke a 12-inning scoreless streak for the Tigers that had lasted since he hit a two-run homer Tuesday. Their bigger issues than the offensive struggles were the 31 unanswered runs allowed between, including nine Cardinals runs in the first three innings on their way to
Detroit called up its top pitching prospects last month, knowing Tarik Skubal and Casey Mize would have their struggles but believing they could learn from them. Thursday was one of those days for Skubal, the Tigers’ No. 5 prospect according to MLB Pipeline. Five days after the 23-year-old left-hander tossed six innings of two-hit, one-run ball with six strikeouts against the Twins, he struggled to find the strike zone against the Cardinals, who took advantage.
Skubal walked four of the 13 Cardinals he faced; three of those walks scored. He reached three-ball counts on three other hitters and threw first-pitch strikes to just six batters. His fastball was deceptive when he executed, including a fastball that drew seven swings and misses and nine called strikes. Harrison Bader and Lane Thomas fanned on Skubal fastballs to strand a runner at second in the second inning, but Yadier Molina’s two-run homer off a high fastball earlier in the inning put St. Louis up to stay.
Skubal’s downfall was an inability to execute secondary pitches. Kolten Wong’s leadoff walk was the first of four consecutive batters to reach base safely off Skubal in the third, two on walks. Tommy Edman lashed at a hanging changeup and lined it with a 105.8-mph exit velocity into the left-field corner for an RBI double to score Wong before Paul Goldschmidt walked and Paul DeJong chased Skubal with 67 pitches and nobody out in the third.
Joe Jiménez — who provided one of the few clean innings Wednesday against the Brewers — struggled against the Cardinals, allowing home runs to Tyler O’Neill and Lane Thomas. Goldschmidt’s fourth-inning homer off Beau Burrows put St. Louis into double digits.
Candelario’s sixth homer of the year comprised the only runs off Jack Flaherty, who struck out six batters over five innings.