Pittsburgh Pirates Take 3 of 4 From the Tigers

(Photo by Dave Reginek/Getty Images)
(Photo by Dave Reginek/Getty Images) /

The Pittsburgh Pirates are now 57-58 this season

After a 7-5 victory over the Detroit Tigers on Thursday afternoon, the Pittsburgh Pirates are now 57-58 this season. Thursday’s victory was also their first road victory in interleague play in 2017. With the win, the Pittsburgh Pirates are now 3 games behind the first place Chicago Cubs in the National League Central.

Thursday afternoon was one of the most complete games the Pirates have played this season. They played strong defense, got a good start from Gerrit Cole, and the offense scored plenty of runs in the Pirate victory.

In the top of the 1st inning the Pittsburgh Pirates jumped out to an early lead. Adam Frazier hit a 1 out triple, and this was followed by Andrew McCutchen drawing a walk. A sacrifice fly from Josh Bell scored Frazier to make the score 1-0 Pirates.

Unfortunately, the Pirate lead would not last long.

With 1 out in the bottom of the 1st inning Mikie Mahtook hit a weak ground ball that snuck through the infield for a hit. A 2 out single by Miguel Cabrera then put a pair of runners on base. Nicholas Castellanos then blooped a ball down the first base line that landed on the foul line and, somehow, wound up a 2-run triple. This gave the Tigers a 2-1 lead after an inning of play.

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Gregory Polanco then doubled to start the top of the 2nd inning. This was followed by a RBI single from Sean Rodriguez to tie the game at 2. Then with 2 outs, Rodriguez was picked off first base to end the inning.

Starling Marte joined the extra base hit party when he doubled to start the top of the 3rd inning. Josh Bell then got in on things when he blasted his 20th home run of the season. This home run gave the Pirates a 4-2 lead that they would not relinquish.

With 2 outs in the top of the 4th inning Chris Stewart and Starling Marte hit back-to-back singles. Adam Frazier then hit a double to score both Stewart and Marte, extending the Pirate lead to 6-3. This hit also chased Detroit starter Drew VerHagen from the game.

In just his third career start, things were a struggle for VerHagenin In 3 2/3 innings pitched he allowed 6 runs on 9 hits, the Bell home run, a walk, and a strikeout.

The score would remain 6-3 Pirates until the top of the 7th inning. Sean Rodriguez led off the top of the 7th inning with his 4th home run of the season. This home run by Sean Rod extended the Pirate lead to 7-3.

After struggling in the 1st inning, Gerrit Cole would dominate the rest of the game. Despite allowing a solo home run to Mikie Mahtook in the 3rd inning, he retired 21 of the last 25 batters he faced and a pair of the base runners he allowed erased on a double play.

Gerrit Cole pitched a season-high 8 innings on Thursday afternoon. He allowed 3 runs on 6 hits, a walk, a home run, and 7 strikeouts.

Juan Nicasio started the bottom of the 9th inning for the Pirates. After allowing a pair of weakly hit singles the game became a, sigh, dreaded save situation. So despite the Pirates leading 7-3 with 1 out in the 9th inning, Nicasio was removed for Felipe Rivero.

Victor Martinez would hit a double off of Rivero. This cut the Pirate lead to 7-4, and put runners on second and third with 1 out. James McCann then grounded out for the second out of the inning, but it also brought a run home to cut the lead to 7-5. Rivero then struck out pinch-hitter John Hicks to end the game.

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The Pittsburgh Pirates will continue interleague play this weekend as they head north of the border to play the Toronto Blue Jays. The first game of the series is scheduled for 7:07 on Friday night. Jameson Taillon is scheduled to start for the Pirates, while the Blue Jays plan to go with Marcus Stroman.