Mize shuts down Cardinals, adds RBI in Tigers’ 4-3 win

Detroit News

St. Louis, Mo. – AJ Hinch was asked before the game if he thought his starting pitcher Casey Mize would be ready to hit, since, you know, he never has. Not even at Auburn.

“Well,” Hinch said with a wry grin, “he will go up to bat. I don’t know how much we’ll let him hit.”

Turns out, he did some damage without swinging the bat.

Mize’s first-ever plate appearance came with the bases loaded in the second inning and he drew a four-pitch walk from Cardinals right-hander Jack Flaherty. Mize flipped the bat toward the dugout and when he got to first base, he drew an imaginary bow and shot the arrow, like he’s watched his hitters to all year.

It was a light moment for the Tigers but a dark one for the Cardinals — who not only lost the game 4-3, but might have lost one of their dynamic starting pitchers. The four-pitch walk to Mize was the first real sign that Flaherty, who was making just his third start after a long stint on the injured list, wasn’t right.

The Tigers got two runs off him in the second and then Robbie Grossman (19th) and Miguel Cabrera (14th) hit back-to-back home runs off him to start the third. Flaherty threw an 89-mph four-seamer to Grossman, 5 mph under his average velocity. Then he hung a slider to Cabrera, who pulled it 422 feet into the third deck in left.

Flaherty walked off with the Cardinals trainer. The club announced he had right shoulder tightness.

It was career home run No. 501 for Cabrera, who was given a video tribute by the Cardinals before his first at-bat. He also collected a single in the game, which brings his hit total to 2,957, passing Wee Willie Keeler for 35th on the all-time list.

Cabrera was given another warm ovation when he left for a pinch-runner after drawing a walk in the eighth.

Mize, who has had a rough August up to this point, blanked the Cardinals over five innings. He did so, perhaps not as dominantly as he has other starts (only two strikeouts, two swings and misses), but very efficiently.

He allowed three hits and an average exit velocity on 15 balls in play of 85.5 mph — mostly soft contact.

And, in his second at-bat, he did in fact take a hack. He worked the count full and hit a ground ball to second base.

He turned a 4-0 lead over to the bullpen, first to right-hander Kyle Funkhouser who has been vitally important to the Tigers’ turnaround since April. He struck out three in his two scoreless innings.

Over his last 13 outings, 14 innings, he’s allowed two runs with 14 strikeouts.

Then things got tense in a hurry.

Erasmo Ramirez was greeted by a lead-off triple by Harrison Bader. He scored on a ground out, but with a walk and a hit batsman, he left a two-on, two-out mess for Michael Fulmer.

Nolan Arenado poked a two-run double into the right-field corner, cutting the lead to 4-3, before Fulmer struck out Yadier Molina to end the eighth.

There was no drama in the ninth. Fulmer put the Cardinals down in order for his second straight save.

The Tigers have now won three out of four on this road trip against two teams still fighting for wild card spots. Since May 7, they are 52-42.

Twitter: @cmccosky

Articles You May Like

Days of Roar: Tough questions on Detroit Tigers’ .500 level of play
GameThread: Tigers vs. Astros, 4:10 p.m.
Tigers Notes: Baez, Kreidler, McKinstry, Flaherty
Nationals 7, Tigers 5: Reese Olson knocked around again
Series Preview: Detroit Tigers travel to face Houston Astros for 3-game weekend set

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *