St. Louis Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina wore No. 21 on his uniform in honor of Roberto Clemente during a doubleheader Thursday in St. Louis. Photo by Bill Greenblatt/UPI | License Photo
Sept. 11 (UPI) -- The St. Louis Cardinals routed the Detroit Tigers 12-2 in the first game of a doubleheader, the Tigers got revenge behind pitcher Jordan Zimmermann with a 6-3 win in the nightcap at Busch Stadium.
Cardinals ace Jack Flaherty allowed just four hits and the Cardinals hit five home runs in the first game Thursday in St. Louis. Zimmermann allowed four hits and one run in Thursday's finale.
Veteran catcher Yadier Molina wore No. 21 on Wednesday to honor baseball legend Roberto Clemente on Roberto Clemente Day. He homered in his first at-bat.
"That was fun to see," Flaherty said of Molina's 369-foot solo blast. "You could see how pumped up he was when he hit [the home run]. He was fired up."
Molina's two-run homer in the second inning ignited Cardinals offense. St. Louis added another seven runs in the third inning to break the game open. Tyler O'Neill and Lane Thomas homered in the third frame. Tommy Edman, Paul DeJong and Rangel Ravelo also plated runs in the inning.
First baseman Jeimer Candelario brought in the Tigers' only runs of Game 1. He hit a two-run homer in the fourth inning of the loss.
Paul Goldschmidt hit a solo homer for the Cardinals in the bottom of the fourth inning. Ravela hit a two-run shot in the bottom of the sixth inning for the final runs of the game.
Flaherty allowed two runs and two walks and had six strikeouts on 95 pitches over five innings for the victory. Tigers starter Tarik Skubal allowed three hits and six runs in two innings. Ravelo, Molina and O'Neill recorded two hits apiece in the win.
The Cardinals jumped out to another early lead in Game 2. Matt Carpenter plated DeJong with an RBI single in the bottom of the second inning. The Cardinals third baseman returned to the plate to hit an RBI double in the fourth frame for a 2-0 advantage.
Edman hit his fourth home run of the season in the fifth inning to push the lead to three runs.
The Tigers responded with strong at-bats and a dominant bullpen performance down the stretch. Candelario started the rally with a sixth-inning solo homer. Tigers second baseman Jonathan Schoop smacked an RBI single in the seventh inning, which cut the deficit to one run.
Candelario followed with a two-run single in the same frame to give Detroit a 4-3 lead. Jorge Bonifacio homered two at-bats later. The 402-foot, two-run shot to left field gave the Tigers their final advantage.
Tigers closer Bryan Garcia retired the final three batters in order to earn his second save of the season.
The Tigers have lost seven of their last 10 games, but are just one game out of the American League Wild Card race for a spot in the 2020 MLB playoffs.
"We are close," Zimmermann said of the Tigers. "We are right there. All it takes is a little run and we could be in the playoffs. When you get to the playoffs, anybody can get hot at the right time."
The Tigers (20-23) will face the Chicago White Sox at 8:10 p.m. EDT Friday at Guaranteed Rate Field in Chicago. The Cardinals (19-18) will host the Cincinnati Reds at 8:15 p.m. EDT Friday at Busch Stadium.
Cincinnati Reds' Luis Castillo delivers a pitch to the St. Louis Cardinals in St. Louis on Friday. The Reds defeated the Cardinals 3-1. Photo by Bill Greenblatt/UPI | License Photo