Cardinals 12, Tigers 6: Nightmarish sixth inning leads to snapped winning streak

Bless You Boys

The Tigers dropped the series finale in St. Louis to the Cardinals 12-6. After pulling ahead in the top of the sixth via Jake Rogers’ grand slam, the Cardinals were able to get all those runs back and more in the bottom half of the inning en route to scoring nine unanswered runs. The defense of the Tigers was uncharacteristically off, committing four errors which aided the Cardinals in their massive sixth inning. After a three strikeout game on Saturday night, Paul Goldschmidt hit three home runs on Sunday. The Tigers still managed to take two out of three at St. Louis, but had their winning streak snapped at five.

Alex Faedo was called up in place of a struggling Spencer Turnbull on Sunday, and wasn’t too bad. Goldschmidt had his number, launching solo shots in the first and third, while a Javy Báez error led to a run in the second. Spencer Torkelson answered back with a deep home run to right center field in the fourth, and the Tigers had life.

Torkelson also singled to right center in the game, and looks like he’s starting to drive the ball to all fields a little bit better lately, so hopefully these quality at bats are just a sign that he’s figuring it out. The line drives to right field lately are promising.

The top half of the sixth inning brought so much hope. With two outs, Miguel Cabrera laced a line drive single to center field to plate a run and pull the Tigers within one. After a pitching change and a walk to pinch hitter Zach McKinstry, Jake Rogers strode to the plate with the bases loaded. Rogers worked the count full, though he whiffed at two fastballs in the zone. He didn’t whiff at the next one. On the sixth offering of the at bat from JoJo Romero, Rogers launched a fastball 413 feet into the Tigers bullpen for a grand slam to put them up 6-3. All smiles for the road team!

The bottom half of the sixth was a nightmare, however. Alex Faedo, having thrown two straight clean innings, came back out to face the heart of the Cardinals lineup. Paul Goldschmidt, having tallied two home runs on the day already, greeted Faedo with a single up the middle. Faedo then hit Nolan Gorman which prompted a pitching change.

Mason Englert, who did great work in Friday’s win, came on to face Nolan Arenado. The Cardinals had some tricks waiting for Englert, and pulled off a successful double-steal on his first pitch to put two in scoring position with no outs. Arenado hit a routine grounder to short, but a misplay by Báez resulted in a run and every base runner being safe. That was error number-one in the inning. Englert responded with a 12-pitch strikeout of Willson Contreras, which prompted a visit to the mound by pitching coach Chris Fetter.

Whatever he told him, I don’t think it worked. Brendan Donovan launched a first pitch fastball over the right field fence to put St. Louis back on top 7-6. The Cardinals weren’t done though. Dylan Carlson singled, Tommy Edman reached on an error by Nick Maton, and then Andrew Knizner doubled to extend the lead, which prompted another pitching change. Tyler Holton came on and was welcomed to the game with a single by Lars Nootbaar to put the Cardinals up 10-6. Maton then made another error on a ground ball by Paul Goldschmidt, the third error of the inning for the Tigers, but Holton was thankfully able to pitch around it.

Unfortunately the Tigers didn’t have another come back in them. Old friend Drew VerHagen locked them down without a hit in the seventh and eighth. Meanwhile, Goldschmidt crushed his third of the day in the bottom of the eighth to make it 12-6. The Tigers went quietly in the ninth, and the winning streak ended at five games.

Faedo for Red Bull

Faedo was called up this weekend to pitch in the series finale, but until Sunday, it was unknown whose roster spot he’d be taking. Before the game, news broke that Spencer Turnbull was being optioned to make room. While Turnbull has had a rough start to his first post Tommy John season, the move still comes as a bit of a surprise.

Outside of being ambushed by Paul Goldschmidt, Faedo was okay against the Cardinals. Given Faedo’s numbers in Triple-A Toledo and Turnbull’s lack of success so far, this move seems to signal that the Tigers are pushing to win games and thus prefer Turnbull work through his struggles in low leverage games. That only adds up if Faedo can hold down a spot for a little while, and that is decidedly in question.

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