ST. LOUIS — David Freese waited a long time for this curtain call. He was impressed with the patience of St. Louis’ fans.
Freese hit a grand slam for his first homer of the season, and the Cardinals used a five-run first inning to beat the Milwaukee Brewers 7-6 on Friday night.
“That’s the biggest thing about this, you want to join the fun,” Freese said. “Fortunately enough, I haven’t done squat this year and we’ve got a heck of a record.”
The Brewers made it close on a pair of three-run homers by Aramis Ramirez off Jaime Garcia before losing for the 13th time in 15 games. The bottom four spots in the lineup were a combined 0 for 15.
“Nice to see Rammy get a couple,” Milwaukee manager Ron Roenicke said. “I think he’s been swinging the ball really well and hasn’t had much to show for it.”
The Cardinals had five hits and a walk while batting around against Wily Peralta (3-4) in the first, but the right-hander was still in the game when Garcia (5-2) was chased with one out in the sixth. Milwaukee got one hit in 3 2-3 innings against three relievers, with Edward Mujica working the ninth for his 12th save in 12 chances.
“The bullpen did a great job, they picked me up basically,” Garcia said. “I didn’t do my job.”
Freese entered with a .209 average, four RBIs and a .287 on-base percentage, struggling to find his stroke after starting the season on the 15-day disabled list with a back injury from chasing a foul ball in spring training. He batted .293 last year with 20 homers and 79 RBIs, the first time he played more than 100 games in the majors.
Tigers 2, Rangers 1: Miguel Cabrera went 3 for 4 with a go-ahead double in the sixth inning to back Rick Porcello and lift the Detroit Tigers over the Texas Rangers 2-1 Friday night in a matchup of division leaders.
Jim Leyland earned his 1,699th win as a major league manager as the Tigers stayed tied with Cleveland atop the AL Central.
Porcello (2-2) allowed one run and five hits in 5 2-3 innings with six strikeouts and a walk as the Tigers rebounded from a 10-4 loss to Texas on Thursday night in which ace Justin Verlander was knocked out in the third inning.