The Pirates got a strong start from Edinson Volquez and a series of doubles partially attributable to questionable Tigers defense, completing a two-game sweep of the Tigers with a 4-2 win on Tuesday.
Edinson Volquez gave up a run in the first inning when Ezequiel Carrera hit a one-out double, then came home as Ian Kinsler grounded a single up the middle. Volquez spared himself further trouble with a great play later in the inning, though, snagging a Victor Martinez grounder with a weird, instinctive backhand motion and throwing home to trap Ian Kinsler in a rundown.
The Pirates took a 2-1 lead in the second when Russell Martin, Gaby Sanchez and Travis Snider all doubled. They got more than a little help from the Tigers. Sanchez sneaked his double down the line on a grounder that many third basemen would have gotten, but that Miguel Cabrera didn't. Snider's double was just a semi-routine fly ball that Carrera for some reason decided not to catch, possibly the result of a miscommunication with left fielder Rajai Davis. The Bucs then tacked on a run in the third when Josh Harrison doubled and Jordy Mercer singled him home.
The Tigers made it 3-2 in the fourth when Volquez left a fastball down the middle to Alex Avila. That was all they'd get off Volquez, who lasted six innings, striking out five and walking two in a second straight strong start.
The Pirates gave their bullpen an insurance run in the bottom of the sixth, as Starling Marte walked, stole second and then came home on a gap double by Ike Davis. Justin Wilson pitched a scoreless seventh, and Tony Watson pitched the eighth, striking out Cabrera with a 95-MPH fastball. Mark Melancon put two runners on in the ninth, but stranded both to finish a 4-2 victory.
The Cardinals and Braves already lost, too, and the Brewers are losing, so the Pirates stand to gain plenty of ground tonight. They would clinch the first Wild Card spot by a game and a half if the season ended today.