Rasmus' three hits, key RBIs pace Cards past Tigers

ST. LOUIS -- Edwin Jackson knows all about Colby Rasmus, given both players live in Columbus, Ga. The Detroit Tigers' pitcher was not surprised by the rookie's big day against him.

"We're pretty much neighbors," Jackson said after giving up a pair of go-ahead hits to Rasmus in the St. Louis Cardinals' 4-3 victory Wednesday night. "He's a good hitter and he's always been a good hitter from when I watched him when he was younger."

Yadier Molina matched Rasmus' three-hit day, adding a home run, and Todd Wellemeyer (6-6) won for the third time in eight decisions at home. St. Louis relievers allowed a run and three hits in 3 2/3 innings, with Ryan Franklin working the ninth for his 16th save in 17 chances.

Curtis Granderson homered twice for the Tigers, who have lost four in a row. They've scored four runs on solo homers during the first two games of the series.

"Those guys have been pitching us really well," Granderson said. "Molina and their pitching staff is doing a great job of keeping us off balance."

Wellemeyer prevailed despite allowing a two-homer game for the third straight start. He also yielded a pair to the Marlins' Ross Gload and the Rockies' Ian Stewart.

"That's hard to do," Wellemeyer said. "But [Granderson's] locked in pretty good. It's a good step forward."

Granderson also walked and singled and is a .467 career hitter (21 for 45) with three homers and 11 RBIs against the Cardinals. But he struck out to end the game.

Jackson's wild pickoff throw in the third gave Tigers pitchers an error in five straight games at Busch Stadium, the first three in the 2006 World Series. Jackson (6-4) allowed three runs in six innings with seven strikeouts, falling to 5-2 in his last eight starts.

Tigers relievers walked in a run for the second straight game, with Ryan Ludwick driving in St. Louis' fourth run against Joel Zumaya in the seventh.

Wellemeyer allowed two runs in 5 1/3 innings, getting two of his five strikeouts against Tigers cleanup hitter Marcus Thames in a juggled lineup that featured Miguel Cabrera batting third for the first time. Detroit has scored three or fewer runs in seven straight games, totaling 19 runs.

Wellemeyer settled down after going to a full count on three of his first four hitters, hurt only by Granderson's third career multihomer game and second this season.

Wellemeyer is 4-1 in interleague play and 3-5 with a 5.47 ERA in nine home starts this season.

Molina, whose two-out, two-run single was the key hit in the Cardinals' four-run first off Justin Verlander on Tuesday, hit his fifth homer in the second to put the Cardinals ahead.

Granderson's first homer tied it in the third, but St. Louis answered in the bottom half on Rasmus' two-out RBI single. Granderson's second homer, on an 0-2 pitch from Wellemeyer with one out in the fifth, tied it at 2. Again, the Cardinals responded with Rasmus' RBI triple high off the right-field wall.

Rasmus leads NL rookies with seven homers and 26 RBIs, and 17 of his last 27 hits have gone for extra bases. He batted second ahead of Albert Pujols, the best spot in the lineup to see lots of strikes.

"He's having good swings," Cardinals manager Tony La Russa said. "He'll chase a pitch now and then but he's got a good strike zone for a young hitter."

Zumaya walked three in the seventh as the Cardinals took a two-run lead. Cabrera doubled and scored on Magglio Ordonez's sacrifice fly in the eighth for Detroit.

Game notes
All but six of Granderson's homers have come with the bases empty. He is 5 for 10 against Wellemeyer. ... The Tigers are 2-6 in interleague play. ... Pujols was 0 for 2 with two walks, including his major league-leading 21st intentional pass with a runner on third and one out in the fifth. Pujols drew two intentional walks on Tuesday. ... Ludwick struck out three times and is 9 for 55 with one homer and six RBIs since coming off the disabled list from a hamstring injury on May 29.