Control an issue for Cards vs. Tigers

Control an issue for Cards vs. Tigers

Control an issue for Cards vs. Tigers
JUPITER, Fla. -- Miguel Cabrera snapped his early-spring offensive funk, Cardinals pitchers struggled to throw strikes and Detroit thumped St. Louis, 7-4, in a Grapefruit League game at Roger Dean Stadium on Friday.

Cabrera, who entered the game with one extra-base hit in 23 spring at-bats, doubled and homered in his first two at-bats. He drove in two runs and also drew a walk in the visiting Tigers' offensive outburst. He had been 4-for-23 on the spring prior to Friday's game.

"I feel good," Cabrera said of his performance. "I've got to make my swing more consistent."

The free pass to Cabrera, meanwhile, was one of 14 issued by Cardinals pitchers. Starter Lance Lynn walked two batters in two innings, and Joe Kelly handed out five free passes in a difficult three-run third. Lynn was reached for three hits, all in the first inning, and left with a two-run deficit. Kelly allowed Cabrera's homer but got two outs before walking five straight batters, and Detroit stretched its lead to five runs.

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Said Cardinals manager Tony La Russa: "It was an ugly day. This was a truly ugly day."

Tigers starter Phil Coke pitched four strong innings, allowing three hits and a walk while striking out three. The Cardinals got a runner in each of the first three innings, but double plays erased the threats in the first and second.

Detroit improved to 10-6 on the spring, and the Cardinals fell to 7-6.

Up next for Cardinals: St. Louis welcomes another American League foe to Roger Dean Stadium on Saturday at 12:05 p.m. CT, when Minnesota comes to town. Mitchell Boggs hopes to return to action after missing 10 days due to a lower back strain. He's expected to pitch in relief of Jake Westbrook, who is looking to build on a very strong outing five days earlier against the Twins in Fort Myers, Fla.

Up next for Tigers: Detroit returns home from its Jupiter sojourn for a Saturday afternoon contest with Toronto at 12:05 p.m. CT. Brad Penny will look to continue his strong spring when he takes the mound for his third start of the Grapefruit League campaign. Thus far this spring, Penny has pitched twice without allowing a run or a walk, racking up five strikeouts in 5 1/3 innings.

Matthew Leach is a reporter for Read his blog, Obviously, You're Not a Golfer and follow him on Twitter at @MatthewHLeach. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.