Jake Westbrook gave the St. Louis Cardinals a much-needed lift tonight when he beat the Detroit Tigers 3-1. Westbrook pitched a gem, going the distance and striking out five against a single walk. Detroit's run was unearned. Westbrook lowered his ERA from 4.27 to 3.83 with his work tonight. Westbrook was supported by single runs in the 5th, 6th and 8th innings. Rafael Furcal, Carlos Beltran and Matt Holliday had two hits each.
The win was significant for several reasons. Furcal has struggled lately, and it was good to see two hits from him. His two hits tonight matched the total he produced in the previous ten games, so maybe this will spark him into the good hitting he had been showing for most of the season until his recent slump.
Matt Holliday also continued his good hitting. He raised his batting average to a season-high .286. For Holliday to be closing in on the .300 mark after hitting .215 in April shows the kind of surge he's been on lately. In fact, Holliday has cooled a bit since hitting .340 in May. So far in June he's batting .288, but in his last four games Holliday is tearing apart opposing pitching. He is nine for fifteen over those games.
The offense hasn't been the main problem for the Cardinals lately, though. Entering tonight's game the Cards were still leading the National League in batting average, runs scored and home runs and were just a tick behind the Dodgers in on-base percentage. No, the problem has been the pitching, and that's why it was good to see Westbrook win for the second consecutive outing. Westbrook beat the Chicago White Sox last week, but before that he had been 0-4 over his previous six starts. In those starts he gave up 28 earned runs and averaged just over five innings per game.
So Tuesday's start by Westbrook against a good-hitting Tigers team was a welcome performance for the Cardinals. Had they lost, they would have slipped below .500 for the first time this season. The win also gives the Cardinals a chance to take the series from the Tigers. Kyle Lohse goes for St. Louis while the Tigers send Jacob Turner to the mound. Turner will be making his first start of the season.A native of St. Louis, Brad Boeker has been rooting for the Cardinals for over 40 years.