Cardinals pound 'out-of-sync' Tarik Skubal, reeling Tigers, 12-2

Ted Kulfan
The Detroit News

From an optimistic point of view, the Tigers scored some runs and didn’t give up as many as they did the night before.

So, there’s that.

But there's no sugarcoating it: For the second consecutive day, the Tigers were pounded, this time 12-2  in Thursday’s first game of a doubleheader in St. Louis.

Tigers relief pitcher Joe Jimenez (21) looks on as the St. Louis Cardinals' Tyler O'Neill runs the bases after hitting a two-run home run in the third inning Thursday in St. Louis.

This followed Thursday's 19-0 loss against Milwaukee, in case you forgot.

Jeimer Candelario produced the lone Tigers' offensive spark Thursday with a two-run home run in the fourth inning — Candelario is one of the one offensive threats of late — the Tigers trailing 9-0 at the time and having had 31 unanswered runs scored against them.

The Cardinals’s hit five home runs — Yadier Molina, Tyler O’Neill, Lane Thomas and Rangel Ravelo each hit two-run home runs and Paul Goldschmidt hit a solo blast.

BOX SCORE: Cardinals 12, Tigers 2

And if it wasn’t the Cardinals’ offense, pitcher Jack Flaherty was very good, allowing four hits and striking out six over five innings.

The Cardinals broke it open in the third inning, sending 10 hitters to the plate against Tarik Skubal and reliever Joe Jimenez and scoring seven runs — O’Neill and Thomas each hitting their home runs.

The Tigers desperately needed young Skubal deep into this seven-inning game, and rest a massively used bullpen.

But Skubal struggled in his latest start, having difficulty finding the plate.

"I just didn't command anything real well today," Skubal said. "I didn't bring a good rhythm and that's something I need to do a better job going forward and establish that.

"I just really felt out of sync. I didn't do my job, and that's on me."

Skubal threw two innings, allowing three hits and six earned runs, walking four and striking out there. Skubal threw 67 pitches, only 34 for strikes.

"I have to have more than my fastball every time I go out there," Skubal said. "I didn't have my command of fastball today. I have to have more than one pitch. It's something i can be better."

The walks bothered Skubal.

"Lead-off walks are never good, and you always pay for them," said Skubal, who was hurt in this game with such an issue. "I don't like walking guys. I like to throw strikes and put the ball in play. Walks are always frustrating because that's not who i am."

The lack of command, said manager Ron Gardenhire, stood out more than anything when judging Skubal's relatively short outing.

"He did," said Gardenhire, agreeing Skubal struggled with command issues. "The first couple of innings, I liked the way the ball was coming out of his hand against some really good hitters. Then he just kind of got into a little bit of a funk, started misfiring, and couldn't get his breaking ball anywhere near and started missing with his fastball.

"That's just part of the growing experience."

Gardenhire felt this start was simply another learning experience for Skubal, who was coming off, arguably, his best start.

"You have to maintain everything out there and your confidence," Gardenhire said. "You have one bad hitter, you move on to the next. But it looked like a couple of things bothered him and ended up interrupting the game for him. 

"It's a growing experience, he just misfired, and I like the opportunity to bring him back in another five days. I'll take my chances."

Jimenez relieved Skubal and allowed three runs on three hits in ⅔ of an inning, allowing home runs to O’Neill and Thomas.

Twitter: @tkulfan