Verlander stays unbeaten in May as Tigers sweep Cards

" Summary:
The Tigers got a small measure of revenge for their World Series loss to the Cardinals, sweeping visiting St. Louis behind the strong pitching of Justin Verlander.

" Hero: Verlander. The Tigers righty stayed unbeaten in May, pitching eight strong innings to improve to 5-1.

" Figure this: The Tigers outscored the Cardinals 28-14 in the weekend series.

" Quotable: "You wish we would've swung the bats like this in the World Series. You wish it was for all the marbles. They're a different team now and we're playing pretty well." -- Detroit first baseman Sean Casey.

-- ESPN.com news services

Tigers 6, Cardinals 3

DETROIT (AP) -- The World Series rematch was a mismatch.

Detroit's Justin Verlander stayed unbeaten in May and Brandon Inge homered to help the Tigers win 6-3 on Sunday, completing a sweep of the defending world champion St. Louis Cardinals.

"You wish we would've swung the bats like this in the World Series," said Detroit's Sean Casey, who was one of the Tigers' few offensive standouts during the 4-1 series loss last fall. "You wish it was for all the marbles.

"They're a different team now and we're playing pretty well."

The Tigers, who split the first two games of the World Series here, outscored the Cardinals 28-14 in the weekend series and remained tied with Cleveland for first in the AL Central division. The Cardinals fell 9 games behind NL Central leaders Milwaukee and are off to their worst start since manager Tony LaRussa joined the club in 1996.

Verlander (5-1), last season's rookie of the year in the AL, pitched eight strong innings to pick up his fourth victory in four May starts and hand the Cardinals their fifth straight defeat. He retired 10 straight batters after surrendering Chris Duncan's solo homer in the fifth.

The right-hander, who has won all four of his career starts in interleague play, gave up two runs and five hits with three strikeouts in his longest outing of the season.

"My velocity wasn't there today," said Verlander, who threw 120 pitches in a 7-2 win at Boston on May 15, "but I was still able to get people out. There's no such thing as a sophomore jinx. You've got to keep doing what you're doing every time you go out."

Verlander began the season with no-decisions in three of his first four starts and hasn't lost since April 28.

"He's always good," Cardinals veteran Scott Spiezio said. "He's got great stuff and he mixes it up well and throws to spots. He had a lot of good plays behind him, too."

Jim Edmonds hit an RBI single in the ninth for St. Louis off reliever Fernando Rodney. Bobby Seay got one out for his first career save.

Brad Thompson (2-1) gave up five runs and five hits in 5 2/3 innings. Casey highlighted Detroit's three-run sixth with a two-run double off reliever Tyler Johnson.

The Cardinals finished a 2-7 road trip and have lost six of their last seven.

"It's definitely a disappointing road trip," Thompson said. "I hope we get back on track when we get home. We have to start playing better baseball, but I'm confident we can do it. I mean, look around this clubhouse. You've got All-Stars and future Hall of Famers."

Duncan gave the Cardinals their only lead of the series when he homered to straight center in the fifth, but Inge put the Tigers back on top for good in the bottom of the inning with his eighth homer of the season.

Curtis Granderson led off the first with his AL-leading sixth triple and scored the game's first run on Neifi Perez's groundout.

Detroit's sweep came on the heels of a 1-3 trip to Boston and just before visits from division leaders Los Angeles and Cleveland.

"It doesn't get any easier," Casey said. "Those are good teams but we feel like we're a pretty good team right now, too."

It doesn't get easier for the Cardinals, either. They welcome NL Central leader Milwaukee on Tuesday.

"I don't care what other teams are doing," Spiezio added. "We've got to take care of ourselves. If we do that, then we'll be back in the thick of it."

Game notes
The Tigers are 22-2 this season when they score five or more runs. ... St. Louis' Yadier Molina doubled Sunday to extend his hitting streak to 13 games. It's the club's longest streak by a catcher since Ted Simmons hit safely in 19 games in 1975. ... It wasn't just visiting Cardinals fans who wore red; some fans sported Detroit Red Wings sweaters. Detroit took on Anaheim in Game 5 of the Western Conference finals several blocks away.