Playoff Series: Game 2 of 5

St. Louis won 4-1

Game 1: Saturday, October 21
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Game 2: Sunday, October 22
St. Louis1Final
Game 3: Tuesday, October 24
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Game 4: Wednesday, October 25
St. Louis
Game 4: Thursday, October 26
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Game 5: Friday, October 27
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    8:23 PM ET, October 22, 2006

    Comerica Park, Detroit, Michigan 

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    STL 000000001 1 4 1
    DET 20001000 - 3 10 1

    W: K. Rogers (1-0)

    L: J. Weaver (0-1)

    S: T. Jones (1)

    Rogers, Tigers even Series at one; questions swirl over substance

    DETROIT (AP) -- Was it dirt? A smudge from a resin bag? A magic elixir?

    Don't ask the St. Louis Cardinals what that stuff was on Kenny Rogers' pitching hand.

    Game 2 Breakdown
    Unsung Hero
    Carlos Guillen. He went 3-for-3 with a walk, had an RBI double in the first to give Detroit a 2-0 lead and scored in the fifth to make it 3-0 after hitting a triple to right.

    Juan Encarnacion and Yadier Molina. Both failed to deliver a clutch hit with two outs and runners in scoring position in the first and ninth innings.

    Turning Point
    The first inning. The Cardinals had two on with two outs and came up empty. Rogers would not allow another baserunner until the fifth.

    On Deck
    Game 3 is Tuesday in St. Louis. Tigers left-hander Nate Robertson (1-1, 5.91) last pitched Oct. 10, when he threw five scoreless innings against the A's in the ALCS. Cards ace Chris Carpenter (2-1, 3.70) has allowed 25 hits in 24.1 postseason innings.

    They didn't get a good look at it, and even when he wiped it off, they still barely hit the baseballs he was throwing.

    Virtually untouchable this October, Rogers smothered the Cardinals on two hits over eight shutout innings, leading Detroit to a 3-1 victory on a chilly Sunday night that tied the World Series at one game apiece.

    Rogers figured in a first-inning flap regarding something noticeable on his pitching hand. It appeared to be something dirty or dark, and umpires brought Cardinals manager Tony La Russa out to the field at the end of the first for a brief discussion.

    "It was a big clump of dirt, and I wiped it off," Rogers said. "I didn't know it was there, and they told me and I took it off, and it wasn't a big deal."

    Maybe not to him. But certainly to most others.

    Getting his hand dirty
    Kenny Rogers
    Kenny Rogers said it was a "clump of dirt" on his hand on Sunday night, but he has had a similar substance on his pitching hand in every playoff game.

    • To read more, Click here.

    "It's not important to talk about," La Russa said tersely to reporters. But according to Tigers manager Jim Leyland -- La Russa's good buddy -- La Russa discussed it with the umps.

    "I know Tony said, 'Hey, I don't want to make any issue here, but a couple of my players are saying that the ball is acting a little funny,'" Leyland said. "And obviously they were a little suspicious."

    Leyland, who talked to three umps near the third-base line in the middle of the second, joked about the fuss.

    "He was pretty clean the rest of the way," Leyland said.

    Steve Palermo, one of baseball's umpire supervisors, said plate ump Alfonzo Marquez noticed the dirt and asked Rogers to clean up. Palermo brushed off thoughts of any nefarious plot.

    "Dirt is not a foreign substance," Palermo said. "That's what we play on. That's the playing surface."

    Cardinals pitching coach Dave Duncan, without accusing Rogers, noted that St. Louis reliever Julian Tavarez was suspended when pine tar was detected on his cap in 2004.

    "There were guys upstairs watching TV and they came down and said it was on TV," Duncan said. "Any time you get a better grip on the ball, you're going to increase the velocity of the spin on the ball, whether you're throwing a curveball, sinker, slider, whatever it is. It would have more bite."

    Cardinals second baseman Aaron Miles also brought up pine tar.

    "Somebody said they thought they saw pine tar on him. That's about it," he said. "Whether he got rid of it, or he never had it in the first place, we don't know. His stuff was good all game."

    Rogers extended his scoreless streak to 23 postseason innings this year and 24 1/3 postseason innings overall, a streak that began in 2003 with Minnesota. It is the longest streak since Curt Schilling tossed 25 scoreless innings in 1993 and 2001.

    Rogers became only the second pitcher to have three scoreless starts in a single postseason. Christy Mathewson had three complete-game shutouts (27 innings) for the Philadelphia Athletics in the 1905 World Series.

    "I'm no Christy Mathewson, that's for sure," Rogers said.

    Rogers struck out five and walked three, improving to 3-0 in this postseason. He was 0-3 with an 8.85 ERA in the postseason before this year, and credited his turnaround to his Game 3 start against the New York Yankees in the first round.

    "With any athlete I think the longer you fail at something, the harder it is to turn that corner," Rogers said. "Without a doubt I believe going out there and having success against that Yankee team was huge for me, huge for my confidence."

    Todd Jones came on in the ninth and allowed Scott Rolen's two-out single, then misplayed Juan Encarnacion's comebacker for an error that put runners on the corners.

    "I just missed it. It's embarrassing," Jones said. "I'm going to have 7,000 messages from every coach who ever coached me about that."

    Jim Edmonds blooped a double down the left-field line that scored Rolen, and Jones hit Preston Wilson with a pitch, loading the bases.

    After a visit from pitching coach Chuck Hernandez, Jones retired Yadier Molina on a forceout, preserving the shaky save and completing a four-hitter.

    "He's going to take a little PFP -- that's pitchers' fielding practice -- before he gets on the bus tonight," Leyland joked.

    Craig Monroe got the Tigers started by homering for the second straight night, a solo shot off Jeff Weaver in a two-run first, and Carlos Guillen and Sean Casey also drove in runs for Detroit. Guillen had three hits falling a home run short of the cycle.

    "I'm shocked sometimes of myself," Monroe said. "I'm relaxed and having fun. I think that's the big thing. I'm not getting caught up in all the things that are going on around me."

    Rogers allowed an infield single by Rolen in the first that third baseman Brandon Inge could only knock down. He didn't give up another hit until Molina singled to right leading off the eighth.

    In a battle of starters who flopped with the Yankees, Weaver allowed at least two runners in every inning. He left after five, having allowed three runs and nine hits.

    "I made one bad pitch to Monroe, a cutter down the middle that he didn't miss," Weaver said. "Other than that, I felt good. Just a lot of balls that bled in."

    One night after St. Louis got the National League's first Series win since 2003, Detroit made sure one record won't fall this year: There have never been three straight Series sweeps.

    Following a travel day, the new Busch Stadium in St. Louis hosts its first Series game Tuesday night, with Cardinals ace Chris Carpenter pitching against Nate Robertson.

    Monroe gave Detroit a quick lead, hitting Weaver's sixth pitch into the seats in left-center for his second homer in the Series and his fifth in the postseason, tying Hank Greenberg's Tigers career record. One out later, Magglio Ordonez singled, and Guillen doubled him home with a drive to left, a drive that short-hopped the wall

    Guillen tripled down the right-field line in the fifth -- Encarnacion, a former Tiger, had trouble coming up with the ball -- and Casey singled him home with two outs.

    Known as The Gambler, Rogers pitched with as much electricity as the Las Vegas Strip. He spun off the mound when he walked Scott Spiezio, and made huge hops over the World Series logo when he walked from the mound back to the Tigers dugout on the third-base side. The 41-year-old pumped his arm and snapped his head when David Eckstein hit into a double-play grounder that ended the eighth.

    "It makes me nervous to see someone that pumped up," Leyland said.

    Game Notes
    Schilling compiled his scoreless streak in 1993 with Philadelphia and 2001 with Arizona. ... The Tigers were 1-for-9 with runners in scoring position. ... St. Louis was 23-24 against southpaws during the regular season and had trouble against the Mets' Tom Glavine and Oliver Perez in the NL Championship Series.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press