Miguel Cabrera and Robbie Grossman hit back-to-back home runs to lead the Detroit Tigers to a 4-3 interleague victory over the St. Louis Cardinals on Tuesday night.
Two days after hitting his 500th homer, Cabrera connected on No. 501. He crushed a 79-mph slider by starter Jack Flaherty into Big Mac Land, which is the name of the upper left field deck, in the third inning. At 423 feet, it was his second-longest home run this season.
"His velocity was down and we had to take advantage of it," Grossman said about Flaherty. "Luckily, we got to him."
The Cardinals immediately removed Flaherty (9-2) with what the team said was right shoulder tightness. In two innings, Flaherty allowed four runs on four hits with three walks on 46 pitches. His velocity dropped dramatically after the first inning.
"It's an accurate description," Flaherty said about his shoulder assessment. "(I) Can't give more details until we know more. I'm not going to speak on it. I'm just frustrated for the most part. It was tight, just tight. It wasn't normal. It got less comfortable as the game went on. I'm just ticked off."
The 25-year-old starter missed 60 games (June 1-Aug. 12) with a left oblique strain. He had given up just two runs in 12 innings covering two starts since he returned after being activated from the Injured List.
"He didn't feel good toward the front of his shoulder. We went out and checked on him," St. Louis manager Mike Shildt said. "He said he was sore. I felt good taking the ball from him. It's clearly concerning. He came out of the game. It was a rough day. There's some concern when you ace has to go down."
Casey Mize (7-6) pitched five scoreless innings. He checked the Cardinals on three hits.
"I felt like I was driving the ball a little bit better," Mize said. "I had 15 first-pitch strikes. That was positive, being in good counts."
In his previous three outings, the 24-year-old Mize had allowed nine earned runs — and six homers — over 13 1/3 innings.
"Casey was efficient because he was making pitches," Detroit manager A.J. Hinch said.
Michael Fulmer earned his eighth save by pitching the final 1 1/3 innings.
The Cardinals scored three runs in the eighth off Erasmo Ramirez. Harrison Bader, who led off with a triple, scored on a ground out. Nolan Arenado hit a two-run, two-out double off Fulmer, who then struck out Yadier Molina to end the inning.
Detroit scored twice in the second. The Tigers loaded the bases with one out on two walks and a single. Derek Hill singled to score Jeimer Candelario. With the bases still loaded, Mize walked on four pitches to drive in Harold Castro. It was his first Major League at-bat. After he flipped his bat to the dugout after walking, Mize followed it up with a bow-and-arrow gesture to the Tigers' bench.
"I'm glad it happened and I didn't have to like lay down a bunt," Mize said. "That was a blast for sure."
His teammates were amused.
"I saw the video of him flipping the bat," Grossman said about Mize. "He'd better enjoy it because if he doesn't get to bat at Pittsburgh, it'll be his last at-bat."
It was the 27th time this season St. Louis pitchers have issued a bases-loaded walk this season. Seattle holds the record with 28 set in 1999. Flaherty got out of the jam on two fielder's choices.
Flaherty gave up back-to-back home runs to start the third inning, putting the Cardinals in a 4-0 hole. Grossman led off with a home run, his 19th when he sent an 87 mph fastball into the right-field bullpen. Cabrera followed by hitting his 14th homer this season.
"We put pressure on him early. Obviously, the two homers were key," Hinch said about Flaherty. "He's a good young pitcher who's very promising. Now you just hope for health for him."
Tigers: OF Baddoo (concussion protocol injured list) rejoined the team Tuesday after being reinstated from the 10-day injured list. Baddoo played in four games for Triple-A Toledo as part of a rehab assignment.
Cardinals: OF Carlson (right wrist sprain) was activated before the game after missing two weeks. He hit third between Paul Goldschmidt and Nolan Arenado for the first time this season. He is the first switch-hitter to hit third since Dexter Fowler on May 7, 2018. ... LF Tyler O'Neill (back tightness) was a late scratch from the starting line. Rookie Lars Nootbar took his place in left field.
Tigers: LHP Tarik Skubal (8-11, 4.02) went 6 2/3 innings in his last start, giving up six hits, zero walks, and two earned runs while striking in a loss in his last start against the Los Angeles Angels.
Cardinals: LHP Jon Lester (4-6, 6.02 ) will make his 14th career start against the Tigers and first with the Cardinals. He pitched 4 1/3 innings in his last start, allowing six hits and three walks for four earned runs in a no-decision against the Milwaukee Brewers.
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