Pittsburgh Pirates Lose Game 1 of Doubleheader Against the Detroit Tigers
When it rains it pours, and the Pittsburgh Pirates are currently stuck in a monsoon
After a great 11-4 start to the season, the Pittsburgh Pirates are now just 12-11. In the first game of their doubleheader on Wednesday, the Pirates lost to the Detroit Tigers by a score of 13-10. This loss makes the team just 1-7 in their last 8 games.
Wednesday’s game 1 loss feature some awful pitching and defense from the Pirates. This was just the 51st time in franchise history that team scored at least 10 runs and still lost.
Jameson Taillon started for the Pirates on Wednesday and struggled for a third consecutive start. Taillon has struggled immensely since throwing a 110 pitch complete game against the Cincinnati Reds on April 8th. So the next time someone tells you pitch count does not matter just show them Taillon’s last three starts as an example of why that is not true.
Leonys Martin hit a home run off of Taillon to start the game. Jeimer Candelario would reach on a Josh Bell error, and come around to score on a Jacoby Jones base hit. This gave the Tigers a 2-0 lead after half an inning of play.
A 2-run home run by Colin Moran tied the game at in the bottom of the 2nd inning, however, the Pirates would give those runs right back to the Tigers. Throughout this game, the Pirates would consistently give runs back to the Tigers and it proved costly.
After the Tigers scored a run off of Taillon to take a 3-2 lead in the top of the 3rd inning, the Pirates put up a four-spot in the bottom half of the inning. Bell reached on a Niko Goodrum error that also allowed Adam Frazier to score. Later in the inning, Francisco Cervelli launched a 3-run home run. His 3rd home run of the season gave the Pirates a 6-3 lead.
With the Bucs leading 6-3 and Taillon on the hill things looked good for the home team. Unfortunately, things would prove to be anything but good.
James McCann led off the top of the 4th inning to cut the Pirate lead to 6-4. After allowing another pair to reach base, Taillon allowed a game-tying double to Miguel Cabrera. Taillon was then lifted for Kyle Crick who allowed a 2-run home run to Nicholas Castellanos on the first pitch he threw.
Crick would then strikeout Jones to end the inning, but not before the Tigers had taken an 8-6 lead. Taillon wound up allowing 7 runs on 10 hits and a pair of home runs in 3 2/3 innings pitched. In his 3 starts since throwing his complete game, Taillon has allowed 15 runs on 18 hits, 5 walks, 3 home runs, and 8 strikeouts in 11 1/3 innings pitched. Once again – pitch count matters.
The Pirates had a great opportunity to regain the lead in the bottom of the 5th inning. With 1-out, Cervelli singled in Corey Dickerson to cut the Tiger lead to 8-7. Moran then recorded a base hit to put runners on the corners with just the 1 out.
Jordy Mercer then stepped to the plate needing just a fly ball to tie the game. Mercer would fail to deliver, however, as he popped out to second base on a nice play by Goodrum. After pinch-hitter David Freese walked to load the bases, Frazier grounded out to end the inning.
Edgar Santana took over on the hill for the Pirates in the top of the 6th inning. While he would strikeout the side, he also allowed a home run to the first batter he faced just as Taillon and Crick did. This time the home run was hit by Candelario to make the score 9-7 Detroit.
After a scoreless top of the 7th inning from Santana, the Pirates had a great opportunity in the bottom half of the inning. After a Dickerson double and Cervelli walk, Moran hit what looked like a routine double play ball. However, Tiger shortstop Jose Iglesias did not even try to turn two.
After the Iglesias miscue, the Pirates had runners on the corner with just 1 out for Mercer. As he did earlier in the game with a runner on third and less than two outs, Mercer popped out on the infield. Sean Rodriguez then grounded out to end the inning.
Enny Romero took over on the mound for the Pirates in the top of the 8th inning. In the top of the 8th, the clown show that has been the Pittsburgh Pirates this past week continued.
Candelario reached on a throwing error by Frazier to start the inning. The error was aided by Bell completely abandoning the first base bag to try and field a groundball he had no business going toward, forcing Romero to try and cover the bag.
After a Miguel Cabrera double, Romero uncorked a wild pitch allowing Candelario to score. Castellanos then picked up a run-scoring hit, making the score 11-7 Tigers. The Tigers would then load the bases off of Romero and push another run across to make the score 12-7.
A walk by Gregory Polanco and a base hit by Starling Marte gave the Pirates a pair of base runners with 1-out in the bottom of the 8th inning. This was followed by a broken bat bloop single to left field by Bell that cut the Tiger lead to 12-8.
Then with 2-outs, Cervelli drove a 3-2 pitch from Joe Jimenez into the left-center field gap. This double scored Marte and Bell – gave Cervelli a career-high 6 RBIs – and cut the Detroit lead to 12-10. Moran then drove a ball into left-center field as well, but Jacoby Jones made a nice running catch to end the inning and bringing the Pirates’ men left on base total to 9.
More bad Pirate defense led to another Tiger run in the top of the 9th inning. A Cervelli throwing error led to the Tigers scoring a 2-out run to make the score 13-10. This was the third unearned run of the day for the Tigers.
Game 1 on Wednesday featured Pirate pitchers struggling, poor defense, and the team leaving too many runners on base. It is impossible to blame the offense for a loss when you score 10 runs, though.
For the past week, the Pirates have looked totally unprepared on the mound, in the field, and at the plate and that falls at the feet of Clint Hurdle and his staff.
Next: Pirate Mailbag: April 25, 2018
The second game of Wednesday’s doubleheader will feature a pitching matchup of Chad Kuhl and Matt Boyd. The Pirates will be looking to avoid their third consecutive series loss after going 4-0-1 in the first 5 series they played this season.