Although nobody on St. Louis' roster has any major league experience with scheduled starter Jacob Turner , Cardinals manager Mike Matheny is quite familiar with the Detroit Tigers ' prized pitching prospect.
Turner is expected to be recalled from the minors to make his season debut for the Tigers in Wednesday afternoon's series finale against the Cardinals and one of his former high school coaches.
Turner is slated to be recalled from Triple-A Toledo, where he went 2-1 with a 3.43 ERA with 27 strikeouts and 19 walks in 42 innings, to make a spot start for the injured Drew Smyly (blister).
Turner, the No. 9 pick in the 2009 draft, entered spring training as one of the top candidates for the No. 5 spot in Detroit's rotation, but was shut down because of shoulder tendinitis. Although the 21-year-old right-hander didn't make the major league roster out of spring training and his current stint with the Tigers could be short-lived, he is expected to be a staple in the team's rotation in the coming years. None of which comes as a surprise to Matheny.
The Cardinals skipper was one of the coaches on Turner's high school baseball team, Westminster Christian Academy, in suburban St. Louis.
"As a high school kid, you could see that he was ready for this," Matheny told the Cardinals' official website. "Then you start adding in the baseball talent to go along with it and he's a special kid. He's got a lot of exciting things ahead of him if he just keeps working and keeps his head like it always has been."
Turner, who grew up a Cardinals fan, made his major league debut last season, and in three starts went 0-1 with an 8.53 ERA.
He'll be working with catcher Alex Avila , who is expected to come off the disabled list from a right hamstring strain. The timing is impeccable with backup catcher Gerald Laird exiting Wednesday's game in the fifth inning with left hamstring cramping. It is uncertain if the Tigers, who announced Wednesday that closer Jose Valverde has a sprained right wrist, will put Laird on the DL.
While Detroit is banged-up, St. Louis is sputtering offensively, plating three runs or fewer in nine of its last 11 games. The Cardinals (35-34), who scored one of their runs Wednesday on an error by Tigers shortstop Jhonny Peralta , have left 24 runners on base while going 4 for 25 (.160) with men on in the last three games.
Although the offense, which entered June leading the NL in runs with an average of 5.3 per game, is scuffling, Carlos Beltran can hardly be blamed for the lack of production. Beltran has hit safely in the last 12 games, batting .514 with three homers and six runs in the last nine.
Kyle Lohse (6-2, 2.98 ERA) will take the ball in the finale for St. Louis trying to bounce back from his first loss in six weeks.
Lohse gave up 10 hits and two walks in seven innings against Kansas City on Friday, but only allowed three runs. Still, Lohse, who had yielded a run, five hits and two walks over 13 2-3 innings in his first two June starts, was saddled with 3-2 loss, his first defeat since May 4.
He has a 12.67 ERA in his last four starts against the Tigers, but he hasn't faced them since 2008.
The only player on the Detroit roster Lohse has faced since 2009 is Prince Fielder , who is 3 for 15 with five walks.
|St. Louis Cardinals|
|June 06, 2012||Jaime Garcia||15-Day DL||Strained left shoulder|
|May 31, 2012||Skip Schumaker||15-Day DL||Strained right hamstring|
|May 31, 2012||Skip Schumaker||15-Day DL||Strained right hamstring|
|May 23, 2012||Matt Carpenter||15-Day DL||Strained right oblique|
|May 22, 2012||Matt Carpenter||Day-to-Day||Left game - Right oblique injury|
|May 20, 2012||Lance Berkman||15-Day DL||Torn meniscus, right knee|
|June 19, 2012||Jose Valverde||Day-to-Day||Right wrist|
|June 11, 2012||Drew Smyly||15-Day DL||Severe blister, left middle finger|
|June 10, 2012||Drew Smyly||Day-to-Day||Left game - Blister, left middle finger|
|June 06, 2012||Alex Avila||15-Day DL||Aggravated right hamstring strain|
|June 05, 2012||Alex Avila||Day-to-Day||Left game - tight right hamstring|
|June 03, 2012||Octavio Dotel||15-Day DL||Right elbow inflammation|
DETROIT (AP) -- Quintin Berry slapped a base hit through the drawn-in infield, then took off for first base. He raised both hands in the air in celebration, rounded the bag and ripped off his helmet.
"I've never had a walk-off before," the Detroit outfielder said. "I showed it out there, jumping around, acting crazy. You don't know what to do with yourself."
Berry's tiebreaking RBI single in the 10th inning gave the Tigers a 2-1 win over the St. Louis Cardinals on Thursday. It was another bright moment for the 27-year-old rookie, who is hitting .315 on the year.
Detroit also got an encouraging performance from another youngster. Jacob Turner allowed a run and four hits in five innings in his first start of the season.
"He did fine. I will say this: He's much improved," Detroit manager Jim Leyland said. "There's no question about that. He's much improved from the last time I saw him, particularly at the big league level."
Prince Fielder homered for the Tigers.
Ramon Santiago and Jhonny Peralta started the winning rally with one-out singles off Victor Marte (0-1), who then grazed Austin Jackson 's jersey with a pitch. Berry followed with a grounder up the middle to end it, and the Tigers poured onto the field to mob him.
"They gave me a good shot, but it's the best feeling you could get, being ripped up a little bit," Berry said. "I'll let them do it every day."
Joaquin Benoit (1-1) got the win.
Kyle Lohse allowed a run and four hits in seven innings for the Cardinals.
The 21-year-old Turner was recalled from Triple-A Toledo before the game. Left-hander Drew Smyly has been out because of a blister on his left middle finger.
Turner kept the Tigers in the game while their offense struggled. He walked five - one intentionally - and struck out three.
Fielder put Detroit in front with a 425-foot homer in the fourth. The slugging first baseman flipped his bat forward after making contact with his huge uppercut swing, and there was no doubt about his 11th homer of the year.
"I was going to bounce a breaking ball," Lohse said. "Unfortunately, I missed bouncing it by about four feet and Prince killed it."
The lead didn't last long. With one out and men on second and third in the fifth, Matt Holliday lifted a foul fly that Detroit right fielder Don Kelly caught while almost falling into the seats. The tying run came home on the play, but after an intentional walk to Carlos Beltran , Turner got out of the inning on a flyout by Allen Craig .
Kelly appeared OK after his catch but eventually left in the eighth with a left knee contusion. He is day to day.
Turner, a first-round draft pick in 2009, posted an 8.53 ERA in three starts last year. He was named Detroit's top prospect by Baseball America earlier this year, and he acquitted himself fine in his return to the big leagues - against his hometown team, too.
Turner grew up about 25 miles outside St. Louis, and current Cardinals manager Mike Matheny actually helped mentor him in high school.
"My parents came up for the game," Turner said. "I grew up rooting for the Cardinals, so it's kind of surreal to pitch against them."
After Turner departed, Octavio Dotel , Phil Coke , Brayan Villarreal and Benoit pitched the next five innings, holding the Cardinals to two hits and striking out six.
The Tigers are without closer Jose Valverde , who has an injured right wrist.
Daniel Descalso hit a leadoff double against Coke in the seventh, but the Cardinals couldn't get him home.
Detroit intentionally walked Beltran with first base open again in the 10th, and again the move worked. Craig popped out with men on first and second to end the threat.
Tigers catcher Alex Avila had a single in his return from a right hamstring injury.
NOTES: The Tigers optioned C Bryan Holaday to Toledo to make room for Avila. ... The Tigers announced a scoring change from a wacky play in a June 16 game against Colorado. The Rockies misplayed Miguel Cabrera 's comebacker into a Little League-style home run, and although there were initially two errors charged on the play, Cabrera is now being credited with a single in addition to the two errors. ... Detroit now travels to Pittsburgh for a three-game series. Doug Fister (1-3) takes the mound Friday night for the Tigers against A.J. Burnett (7-2). ... St. Louis plays three games at Kansas City. Joe Kelly (0-0) starts for the Cardinals on Friday night against Vin Mazzaro (3-1).