JUPITER, Fla. Shelby Miller, the Cardinals' starter today, fanned four in two innings today. Then it all went crashing downhill for the local nine.
Miller allowed a two-run, opposite-field homer to Detroit slugger Miguel Cabrera in the third. That finished Miller for the day, but not the Tigers, who added five additional runs in that inning and then eight more in the fourth.
After four, it was 15-0, and the Cardinals were on their way to their sixth exhibition loss compared to two wins, in a 17-5 lambasting.
St. Louisan Max Scherzer, used to seeing huge run support during the regular season from the Tigers, didn't really need it, as usual. Reigning American League Cy Young Award winner Scherzer, saying it was the best he had felt all spring, stopped the Cardinals on two singles for 4 2/3 innings, fanning five.
Stephen Piscotty cracked a three-run homer in the Cardinals' seventh.
But it paled next to the 22-hit onslaught by the Tigers, who had only a handful of regulars on hand in addition to Cabrera, the two-time American League Most Valuable Player who had two homers.
The Cardinals have been outscored, 28-6, in their last two games _ losses to Washington and Detroit.
After the game, the Cardinals optioned outfielders Rafael Ortega and Mike O'Neill and pitcher Angel Castro to Class AAA Memphis. They also reassigned six non-roster players to minor league camp. They were catchers Casey Rasmus, Carson Kelly and Cody Stanley, pitchers Kurt Heyer and Boone Whiting and third baseman Patrick Wisdom.
That left the Cardinals with 37 rostered players and 12 non-roster players in camp.
Piscotty HR cuts Tigers' lead to 13
Down 17, the Cardinals have gone to their two-minute offense.
Pete Kozma singled in a run and Stephen Piscotty, perhaps their top righthanded-hitting prospect, cracked a three-run homer to put a nick in the Detroit Tigers' lead. After seven innings today in a lengthy exhibition, it's 17-4.
Cabrera hits first of his two HRs off Miller
Shelby Miller, who struck out five in 2 2/3 innings in his first spring start for the Cardinals, fanned four in the first two innings today against the Detroit.
Then he faced two-time American League Most Valuable Player Miguel Cabrera with a man on in the third inning. Soon, it was 2-0 as Cabrera homered to right. That finished Miller's outing at 2 1/3 innings and 56 pitches, 42 of them strikes, totals which were similar to some of his outings last year when opposing hitters continued to foul off pitches, thus preventing Miller from going deeper in games.
It would get a lot worse after Miller left.
The Tigers jumped lefthanded rookie Lee Stoppelman for five more runs in the third. Steve Lombardozzi singled home one, Steven Moya tripled in two more, Danny Worth doubled off the left-field wall for the sixth run of the inning and Rajaj Davis' second single of the inning made it 7-0.
Rookie third baseman Nick Castellanos' three-run homer off lefthander Tyler Lyons and Cabrera's second homer of the day, off righthander Keith Butler, keyed the eight-run Detroit fourth inning and it was 15-0.
St. Louisan Max Scherzer, the reigning Cy Young Award winner in the AL, pitched scoreless ball for the first 4 2/3 innings for the Tigers, allowing two hits and fanning five. He also threw 56 pitches but got two more innings out of his than did Miller.
Visa issues will limit Diaz
Newly signed Cuban shortstop Aledmys Diaz is working out with the Cardinals today. But he won't be able to play in big-league spring games because of a work visa issue for which he will have to return to Mexico, where he had been living since defecting.
Manager Mike Matheny, in making that announcement this morning, said the 6-foot-1 Diaz can work out with the big-league team and play in minor league games while the visa matter is being resolved.
"But we'll get him started today with some work until he's ready for games on the back field," said Matheny. "I'll keep my eye on him there as well."
Matheny said Diaz would practice mostly at his natural position, shortstop, before he would be moved around to other infield spots. The 23-year-old speaks some English, Matheny said, and the manager said he also communicated with Diaz in "spanglish."
Diaz, signed to a four-year deal, hasn't played competitively in 18 months. The newcomer was exercising this morning in a group including prized outfielder Oscar Taveras. The latter still is nursing a hamstring injury, suffered in the second game he had played this spring after having ankle surgery last year.
Cards, Miller to face Scherzer
The Cardinals will meet up with Parkway Central and Mizzou product Max Scherzer today when the reigning American League Cy Young Award winner from the Detroit Tigers faces the Cardinals in an exhibition game here. Shelby Miller will get his second start for the spring for the Cardinals.
The Cardinals have won just two of their first nine spring games with two ties. Jon Jay will hit second for the Cardinals today as manager Mike Matheny continues his rotation there.
Newcomer Aledmys Diaz, the Cuban shortstop signed to a four-year deal Sunday, is in camp wearing No. 95 and will meet the media for the first time later today. No word yet on how the Cardinals plan to use him the rest of the spring although almost certainly he will start the season in the minors.