"Hopefully we can go get the win tomorrow, win the series and stay on the roll we've been on," Tigers designated hitter Gary Sheffield said.
To earn a shot at a series win, the Tigers must beat one of the National League's best pitchers in Kyle Lohse. The right-hander ranks third in the NL with nine wins, having won his last six starts. He has walked only 23 batters in 94 1/3 innings.
"We know Lohse has been on a roll," Tigers manager Jim Leyland said. "I said before the game [Tuesday], the three guys we're going to face in this series are 24-9. That's pretty good. This team's played well all year long."
History says the Tigers have a strong chance at knocking Lohse around. Their everyday players have a combined .372 career average against him. Curtis Granderson, one of the hottest Tigers, has hit .467 against him. Miguel Cabrera has hit .429. But those numbers occured before Lohse turned into one of baseball's biggest surprises.
Speaking of surprises, the Tigers counter with Armando Galarraga, an April Triple-A callup with a 7-2 record. His .778 winning percentage ranks sixth among American League starters with at least 60 innings pitched.
"He pounds the strike zone pretty good with movement," Leyland said. "He's been a big help for us. He's done a great job."
Galarraga has shined in Interleague Play this season, beating the Diamondbacks and Giants. A win by the big righty against a quality Cardinals team would bolster his case for an All-Star Game invitation.
It would also give the Tigers a shot at a fifth straight series win.
108-98 overall, 8-5 in 2008
2008 Interleague Schedule
May 16 at Diamondbacks: Lost, 4-3
May 17 at Diamondbacks: Won, 3-2
May 18 at Diamondbacks: Lost, 4-0
June 13 vs. Dodgers: Won, 5-0
June 14 vs. Dodgers: Won, 12-7
June 15 vs. Dodgers: Won, 5-4
June 16 at Giants: Lost, 6-8
June 17 at Giants: Won, 5-1
June 18 at Giants: Won, 7-2
June 20 at Padres: Lost, 6-2
June 21 at Padres: Won, 7-5
June 22 at Padres: Won, 5-3
June 24 vs. Cardinals: Lost, 8-4
June 25 vs. Cardinals
June 26 vs. Cardinals
June 27 vs. Rockies
June 28 vs. Rockies
June 29 vs. Rockies
DET: RHP Armando Galarraga (7-2, 3.03 ERA)
The early-season phenomenon that Galarraga seemed to be upon his April callup keeps rolling, Not only has the former Rangers farmhand won his last three starts, but he hasn't allowed an earned run over 13 innings in his last two outings. He has allowed just 47 hits over 71 1/3 innings this season, which translates to a mere .184 batting average.
STL: RHP Kyle Lohse (9-2, 3.63 ERA)
No starter in the NL is hotter than Lohse, who is 6-0 with a 2.09 ERA over his past seven starts. Lohse has delivered desperately needed stability to a rotation reeling from injuries, and has done a huge part to keep the Cardinals in contention while they do without Adam Wainwright. He's throwing strikes (seven walks in seven starts) and letting his defense work, and it's going extremely well.
Tuesday's attendance was the third largest in Comerica Park's history. ... Granderson extended his hitting streak to 12 games with a single in the third inning. ... Ivan Rodriguez continues to sizzle since Leyland platooned him behind the plate with Brandon Inge. Rodriguez is hitting .441 in his last 10 games. ... Sheffield needs one more RBI to tie Andre Dawson for 32nd on the all-time list. ... The Tigers have hit at least two home runs in nine of their last 10 games. They hit three Tuesday night.
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Official game notes
Thursday: Tigers (Nate Robertson, 6-6, 5.60) vs. Cardinals (Todd Wellemeyer, 7-2, 3.67), 1:05 p.m. ET
Friday: Tigers (Eddie Bonine, 1-0, 5.84) vs. Rockies (Ubaldo Jimenez, 2-7, 4.52), 7:05 p.m. ET
Saturday: Tigers (Justin Verlander, 4-9, 4.49) vs. Rockies (Jeff Francis, 3-7, 5.65), 7:05 p.m. ET