Seven losses in their previous nine games notwithstanding, the Detroit Tigers still possess one of the best lineups in baseball. Miguel Cabrera and Victor Martinez, the power bats in the middle of the order, present the largest threat – and Martinez made good on it Wednesday – but the bottom of the order chipped in as well.
Amid a slew of hits at Comerica Park, the Pirates lost, 8-4, to the Tigers Wednesday night, bringing to an end Detroit’s four-game losing streak that had forced them out of first place in the American League Central.
Only three of Vance Worley’s five runs allowed were earned, courtesy of a Jayson Nix error in the Tigers’ three-run fifth, but he gave up nine hits in 5 1/3 innings.
The start ended an impeccable four-start streak during which Worley held opponents to three earned runs in 28 innings.
Martinez went 3 for 4 with three RBIs, and Alex Avila and Nick Castellanos homered. Castellanos, Avila and Eugenio Suarez, the bottom three hitters in the Tigers’ lineup, combined to go 4 for 11 with three extra-base hits, three runs and three RBIs.
Pirates relief pitcher Stolmy Pimentel allowed three runs in the seventh while giving up two hits and two walks, one intentional, without recording an out. That extended the Tigers’ lead to 8-4. Gregory Polanco followed Ezequiel Carrera’s leadoff hit to the warning track and had the ball in his glove, but could not secure it. The hit was ruled a triple, and the inning unfolded from there.
Tigers spot starter Buck Farmer made his major league debut Wednesday night, but he did more than that. He also made his third start above high-A ball, bypassing Class AAA entirely on his way to the majors.
In five innings, Farmer allowed four runs, including a two-run homer to Travis Snider, and six hits.
The Tigers put two men on in the second with a ground-ball hit and a bloop single. Worley got a double-play ball, but the hit moved Martinez to third. Castellanos hit a liner to center that bounced under the glove of a diving Starling Marte. The ball rolled all the way to the wall, scoring Martinez.
Doubles by Josh Harrison and Russell Martin tied the game in the third inning. Martin’s RBI double extended his hitting streak to 11 games and was the 1,000th hit of his career.
Designated hitter Pedro Alvarez lined a two-strike single to center with one out in the fourth. Jordy Mercer chopped a hit down the third-base line that resulted in an RBI triple. The play, which featured a close tag at third base, withstood a video review, meaning Snider had a man on when he hit the first pitch out to right field. Snider’s third home run in three games gave the Pirates a 4-1 lead.
A three-run bottom of the fifth, which began with an Avila homer, tied the game. Suarez singled. Carrera grounded a ball in the hole between first and second, drawing Nix to his left, away from second base. He turned to try to get the lead runner but his throw bounced away, putting men on first and second with no outs.
Ian Kinsler’s sacrifice bunt moved the runners into scoring position for Cabrera, who hit a long sacrifice fly to the warning track that scored a run. Martinez’s single scored another and the Tigers tied the game at 4-4.
Castellanos gave the Tigers a 5-4 lead that they wouldn’t relinquish.