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10/21/06 11:35 PM ET

Tigers Short Hops: Game 1

Verlander bested by Reyes in upset at Comerica Park

DETROIT -- Fielding the Tigers' World Series Game 1 defeat by the Cardinals on a short hop ...

In < 25 words ...
Justin Verlander wasn't a puzzle to the Cardinals, which means no third straight AL sweep in the Series.

Frozen moment
Two out, runner on second, third inning. Verlander fell behind 2-1 to Chris Duncan when the St. Louis designated hitter doubled down the right-field line to score Yadier Molina to give the Cardinals a 2-1 lead. Albert Pujols then hit Verlander's next pitch, a fastball away, into the right-field seats for an opposite-field home run and a 4-1 St. Louis lead. Pujols' shot changed the complexion of the game and left the Tigers in a significant hole they wouldn't climb out of on this night.

Big number
Seventeen. The number of Tigers batters retired in order by St. Louis rookie Anthony Reyes following Carlos Guillen's two-out double in the first, a streak that didn't end until Guillen's single with one out in the seventh.

Game ball
Jason Grilli. The right-hander bounced back from his awful outing in the final game of the ALCS to pitch a scoreless inning of relief.

Sense of October
World Series fever has gripped Detroit all week, and it continued Saturday when many of the sellout crowd of 42,479 arrived at Comerica Park early in a clearly fired up mood. Or at least they were until the Cardinals broke the game open in the sixth inning.

Lines of the Game
Craig Monroe
4 AB, 2 H, 1 2B, 1 HR, 2 R
Comment: On a night with few Detroit hitting stars, Monroe accounted for most of the Tiger offense with a homer and a double in four trips.

Justin Verlander
5 IP, 7 H, 6 ER, 2 BB, 8 K, 2 HR
Comment: He didn't get much help from his teammates, but this was the last thing the Tigers needed to see from the rookie right-hander in the most important start of his life.

"Pujols, the alien over there, hit that home run it and took the crowd out of it. He's one of those two or three guys who are out of this world when it comes to hitting." -- Detroit closer Todd Jones

Next step
Must-win is too strong a description for the second game in a best-of-seven series, but being down 1-0 in the series, the Tigers can ill-afford to lose Game 2 at home, especially with ace Kenny Rogers on the mound and the series moving to St. Louis for Game 3.

Jim Molony is a writer for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.