DETROIT, MI - MAY 20: Max Scherzer #37 of the Detroit Tigers pitches in the first inning during an inter-league game against the Pittsburgh Pirates at Comerica Park on May 20, 2012 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images)
A bad seventh inning proved to be the Bucs undoing in this one. The Pirates took a 2-1 lead into the bottom half, with Kevin Correia returning to the mound having given up only 2 hits, one of which was a Jhonny Peralta homer in the 5th, and no walks while throwing just pitches 74 pitches.
Prince Fielder led off the inning with a bloop into left field that fell in front of Nate McLouth (does Gorkys make that play?) and was kicked by Clint Barmes. The official scorer (why do they even exist?) ruled it a double. Delmon Young followed with a game-tying single to center. That was the end for Correia, who produced his fourth quality start out of eight so far this year.
Tony Watson came on and got Brennan Boesch to ground to Neil Walker, but he walked Peralta to put men on first and second. After what could have been a called third strike, Rod Barajas got crossed up allowing the runners to advance. It made a huge difference. With the infield in, Alex Avila bounced one up the middle, past Clint Barmes and both runners scored. Brad Lincoln came on to end the threat but the damage was done.
Tigers starter Max Scherzer was dominating in this one. Are "starter" and "dominating" redundant at this point? He struck out 15, limiting the Bucs to only four hits, but was still on the hook when he left because two of those hits left the yard. Barajas, the only Pirate bat other than Cutch doing much of anything the past ten days, hit his fourth in the fourth to give the Pirates a 1-0 lead and Neil Walker hit his second of the season at the end of an excellent ten-pitch at bat to give the Pirates a 2-1 lead in the fifth.
Josh Harrison drilled a one-out double in the ninth and advanced on a wild pitch (very questionable as to whether he should have attempted it given the game situation) and scored on a Barajas sac fly, but Nate McLouth struck out looking to end it. It was the McLouth's third strikeout of the game and the team's 17th, tying a high put up by Mat Latos and the Reds on May 6. Every Pirate except Jose Tabata whiffed in this one, with McCutchen, Alvarez and McLouth each putting up a trifecta. It's really hard to justify keeping McLouth around at this point. He's 0-for-his-last-20 with nine strikeouts. The Pirates have so few options having just sent Presley down, but I would just keep Gorkys up, bring up Jake Fox (or whomever) and DFA Nate. It was real.
I continue to marvel that this team is remotely close to .500. They leave Detroit having been absolutely dominated in two out of three games, but still managed to win the other and now stand at 19-22. Bring on the Mets!