Tale of 2 Skubals: K’s 10, allows 2 HRs in loss

Detroit Tigers

ST. LOUIS — The K in Tarik stands for strikeout.

Tarik Skubal added to his rookie resumé with 10 strikeouts on Wednesday afternoon at Busch Stadium and showed why Detroit is so high on him.

Skubal displayed his electric repertoire from the start against St. Louis, striking out seven of the first nine Cardinals he faced in the Tigers’ 3-2 loss in 10 innings.

The 24-year-old paired his mid-90s fastball with a slider and the occasional knuckle curve, the arsenal that made him the team’s No. 4 prospect and MLB Pipeline’s No. 24 overall prospect heading into this season.

Skubal set the tone from the start, striking out the side in the first inning. It was his 19th straight start with four or more strikeouts, the most by a Tigers rookie pitcher and tying the Rays’ Shane McClanahan for the longest such streak by a rookie hurler this season.

It was Skubal’s second start with 10 strikeouts or more, joining Toronto’s Alex Manoah and Cleveland’s Triston McKenzie as the only MLB rookies to have multiple 10-plus-strikeout games this season. He now has 144 strikeouts, two shy of matching Spencer Turnbull for most by a rookie in Tigers history.

The only downside to Skubal’s outing was that he had to face Cardinals first baseman Paul Goldschmidt, whose two home runs were the difference in the game. Goldschmidt blasted a 94-mph fastball from Skubal 427 feet over the left-field wall in the first, then went opposite field on a 74-mph knuckle curve in the third.

Harold Castro’s pinch-hit single with two outs in the ninth scored Miguel Cabrera and gave Skubal the no-decision instead of a tough-luck loss. But the Tigers couldn’t complete the comeback or a season sweep of the Cardinals, as Lars Nootbaar’s bases-loaded single off of Michael Fulmer broke the 2-2 tie in the bottom of the 10th.

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