The best of seven series is now tied at 1-1 after the Cardinals took game one, with the next three games to be played in St Louis.


Left-armer Rogers has now pitched a remarkable 23 post-season innings without allowing a run, but there was early controversy about a mystery substance on the pitcher's hand.


Television close-ups showed the 41-year-old had discolouration at the bottom of his thumb during the first inning that had been cleaned off by the time he came out to pitch in the second.


Cardinals manager Tony La Russa had a discussion with the umpires regarding the movement of the ball, and the substance on Rogers' hand.


"Tony (La Russa) went out and said a couple of his players said the ball was acting funny and they made Kenny wash his hands," said Tigers manager Jim Leyland.


"He washed his hands, came out for the second inning and was pretty clean the rest of the way."


After the game Rogers, who went 17-8 in the regular season, said that the grime that had collected on his hand was a mixture of wet dirt after rain during the day and his use of the resin bag.


"I'd do anything to distract anybody, but I think after the first inning I was fine," said Rogers.


Rogers (R) strikes out Cardinals
right fielder Juan Encarnacion

"I didn't even know it was there until after the inning."


La Russa later declined to talk about his discussion with the umpires and instead praised Rogers for his stellar performance on the mound.


"When a guy pitches like that, as a team, we don't take things away from anybody," the St Louis manager said.


Early Tigers lead


The home side began well with left-fielder Craig Monroe smashing a home run in the first inning, and that along with first baseman Carlos Guillen's double to score Magglio Ordonez gave the Tigers a 2-0 lead.


Guillen scored a run himself in the fifth inning when designated hitter Sean Casey drove a line single to make the score 3-0.


With Rogers off the mound in the ninth, the Cards got a sniff when Tigers closer Todd Jones gave up two hits, a run, and then hit a batter to load the bases before getting Yadier Molina to ground out to end the game.


"He's going to take a little PFP, that's pitcher's fielding practice, before he gets on the bus tonight, I can tell you," Leyland said.


"That was not good."


The series now heads to St Louis for game three on Tuesday with Detroit southpaw Nate Robertson (13-13) taking on Cy Young holder Chris Carpenter (15-8) for the Cardinals.