DETROIT (AP) — John Gant pitched effectively into the seventh inning and gave the St. Louis Cardinals' offense enough time to get rolling in a 5-2 win over the Detroit Tigers on Sunday.
The Cardinals didn't have a baserunner until the sixth and scored all their runs in the seventh to avoid a series sweep, winning for the third time in eight games. St. Louis came into Sunday with a one-game lead for the second NL wild card spot.
Detroit's four-game winning streak was snapped.
Gant (7-5) allowed two runs on five hits and a walk in 6 2/3 innings. He struck out six.
Carlos Martinez pitched the ninth for his second save.
Michael Fulmer (3-11) was perfect through five innings but only got four more outs. He allowed five runs on five hits and three walks in 6 1/3 innings, striking out five, as he fell to 0-6 in his last nine starts.
In the seventh, Marcell Ozuna and Paul DeJong both hit infield singles with one out, and Kolten Wong followed with an RBI single to left. Yairo Munoz followed with a flyball down the right-field line that Niko Goodrum dropped, allowing the second run to score.
Greg Garcia was intentionally walked, loading the bases, and Carson Kelly hit the third infield single of the inning to make it 3-0. Victor Alcantara replaced Fulmer and allowed a sacrifice fly to Matt Carpenter before Jose Martinez's RBI single gave the Cardinals a five-run lead.
The Tigers got their two runs in the bottom of the seventh, thanks to doubles from Nicholas Castellanos, James McCann and Ronny Rodriguez.
Munoz walked to start the sixth for the Cardinals. He was thrown out stealing before Greg Garcia followed with another walk and Kelly singled to left. Fulmer, though, settled down to retire Carpenter and Jose Martinez.
The game was delayed briefly at the start of the seventh when a squirrel took up residence between second and third base. With some prompting from the Tigers infield, the animal moved into foul territory and eventually made its escape in right field.
Moments later, the Cardinals began their five-run rally.
Carpenter and manager Mike Shildt were both ejected after Carpenter was called out on strikes to end the ninth.
The Tigers brought up three players from Triple-A Toledo, one day after the Mud Hens were eliminated from the International League playoffs. Prospect Christin Stewart is expected to play regularly in left field, while C Jarrod Saltalamacchia will serve as the third catcher and RHP Zac Reininger will add a bullpen arm. Stewart made his major-league debut, pinch-hitting for Ronny Rodriguez with two out in the ninth. He popped out to third to end the game.
Cardinals: Return home for a three-game series against the Pittsburgh Pirates. Adam Wainwright (1-3, 4.00 ERA) starts Monday for the Cardinals against Pittsburgh's Joe Musgrove (6-8, 3.75).
Tigers: Justin Verlander (14-9, 2.73) returns to Comerica Park to face the Tigers on Monday in the first of a three-game series with the Houston Astros. Francisco Liriano (4-9, 4.90) starts for Detroit.
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