ST. LOUIS » Kolten Wong had been paying attention in the dugout, so he was sitting on the fastball. He doesn’t mind those big moments, either.
"The guys before me all got pitched the same way," Wong said after hitting the tiebreaking home run in the sixth inning of the St. Louis Cardinals’ 2-1 victory over the Detroit Tigers on Sunday night. "I was trying to keep my eyes open."
The Tigers never knew quite what to expect from Lance Lynn, who kept them off balance and got his fifth career RBI, too, helping St. Louis avoid a three-game sweep.
"Anytime you can keep them to one run, that’s a pretty good lineup," Lynn said. "So, I’m happy with that. We won and we didn’t get swept at home, so that’s good."
Wong hit a game-winning homer in the 14th to beat the Pirates two weeks ago. Unlike that time, he said he wasn’t swinging for the long ball.
"Honestly, in that situation I don’t try to do too much," Wong said. "I know what’s at stake and I know if put a good swing on the ball I have a chance of driving the ball out."
Miguel Cabrera’s RBI double in the first was the only damage against Lynn (3-3), who gave a weary bullpen a break before walking the last two batters he faced — Ian Kinsler and Cabrera — on eight straight balls at the end of his 7 1-3 innings.
Seth Maness’ only pitch resulted in a double-play ball by J.D. Martinez to end the eighth and Trevor Rosenthal finished for his 13th save in 14 chances.
Matt Carpenter added two hits and Peter Bourgos tripled and scored on Lynn’s single in the third. The Cardinals improved to a major league-best 25-12 despite having two players thrown at the plate — the last on a relay from left fielder Yoenis Cespedes that caught Jhonny Peralta and left them with nothing to show for three hits in the seventh.
"That would have been a big run for them, you’ve got to test him," Tigers catcher James McCann said. "You’ve got to go for it and thankfully we made a great play."
St. Louis had three late-inning gaffes on the bases in Saturday’s 4-3, 10-inning loss.
Cabrera has four homers and nine RBIs the last four games, including his 400th homer on Sunday.
Alfredo Simon (4-2) gave up two runs in six innings for the Tigers, whose three-game winning streak ended.
Wong had been 1 for 8 in the series before hammering Simon’s fastball an estimated 434 feet to right with one out in the sixth.
"I just throw a split when I strike him out, so I just tried to confuse him," Simon said. "If I throw too many splits they looking for that.
"You know, they got a good swing on that so there’s nothing you can do."
Lynn entered the game a career .071 hitter and has three hits this year, all singles. He sliced a pitch down the right-field line to tie it at 1 in the third.
"A blind squirrel finds the egg, or something like that," Lynn said. "Squirrel, nut … I don’t know."
Tigers: Justin Verlander (elbow) is scheduled for a 45-pitch bullpen session Monday, which could lead to a simulated game. … Victor Martinez fouled out pinch hitting in the seventh in his first appearance of the series. Manager Brad Ausmus said Martinez (knee) had been unavailable the previous three days.
Cardinals: GM John Mozeliak said it’s too soon to consider a demotion to the bullpen for 23-year-old Carlos Martinez, 3-2 with a 4.73 ERA and struggling to go deep, especially with lefty Marco Gonzalez scuffling in the minors.
Tigers: Kyle Lobstein (3-3, 4.33) faces the Brewers and Mike Fiers (1-4, 5.00) to start a seven-game homestand. Lobstein was knocked out in the third his last time out, surrendering six runs against the Twins.
Cardinals: John Lackey (2-2, 3.22) is the scheduled starter to open a seven-game trip against the Mets’ Matt Harvey (5-1, 2.31). Lackey is 0-1 with a 5.82 ERA in three road starts.
Cabrera is the third youngest player to hit 400 homers at 32 years, 28 days. He trails only Alex Rodriguez (29 years, 316 days) and Albert Pujols (30 years, 222 days). … Matt Adams is in a 2-for-33 slump.