Neil Walker's solo home run in the 11th inning represented the go-ahead run as the Pirates squeaked out a 1-0 win over the Tigers Tuesday night.
Rick Porcello struck out 11 batters over eight innings, but couldn't pull out a win as the Tigers couldn't score. In fact, the two teams spent the first two hours or so of the game not coming particularly close to scoring. Jeanmar Gomez had seven scoreless innings of his own, albeit in less impressive fashion -- he only whiffed two. Not that I want to put too fine a point on it. Seven scoreless innings speak for themselves. But it's amazing to me that Gomez has a 2.30 ERA this year when the underlying numbers suggest he's pretty much been replacement-level. The Pirates have come out ahead when he's pitched, but they can't count on that going forward.
Anyway, Justin Wilson took the next two innings and struck out two. Then Mark Melancon pitched a scoreless 10th. Then, finally, Neil Walker blasted off to right against Jose Ortega. Then Jason Grilli came on and struck out Torii Hunter, Miguel Cabrera and Prince Fielder to nail down the save. That's some solid bullpen management by Clint Hurdle, and a terrific performance by the bullpen overall.