Neil Walker went 4-for-6 with two home runs, the Pirates smacked 21 hits and they teed off on Joba Chamberlain in the eighth inning for a 9-3 win over the Tigers, securing a series victory in Detroit.
Walker's homers sparked both of the Pirates' big innings.
His first homer, a two-run shot, had plenty of distance and stayed inside the right field foul pole to give the Bucs a 2-1 lead. The Pirates went on to score five in the inning, all off Tigers starter Alfredo Simon.
Josh Harrison led off the inning with a double and scored on the homer. Andrew McCutchen singled. After a Starling Marte strikeout, Pedro Alvarez hit a double to right that surely would have scored McCutchen had it not bounced into the stands in foul territory. Francisco Cervelli scored Cutch on a groundout, then Gregory Polanco scored Alvarez on a single. Polanco moved to second on a wild pitch, then Jose Iglesias made a throw in the dirt on what would have been a Jordy Mercer groundout. A heads-up Polanco scored from second. It was a particularly pleasant inning given the Pirates recent issues stranding baserunners.
The Pirates added a run in the sixth when Walker singled and stole second (!!!), Marte singled and reliever Al Alburquerque threw a wild pitch, allowing Walker to go home.
Walker opened a three-run eighth inning off Chamberlain with an opposite-field solo homer that bounced off the top of the left field wall. Marte homered to left, then Alvarez crushed another to right-center, one of the deepest parts of Comerica Park.
All nine Pirates batters had at least one hit. Marte was 4-for-5, Polanco 3-for-4. Simon allowed 15 hits in his 5 2-3 innings.
These kinds of offensive contributions from Walker, or Polanco for that matter, could change the outlook for the Pirates offense, particularly with possible trades to be made later this month. It was noted on Twitter all night that Walker historically heats up in July, whatever that's worth. Seeing these two, as well as Jordy Mercer, pick it up lately has been plenty promising, though.
A.J. Burnett was solid, holding the Tigers to two runs in his seven innings, striking out four, walking none and allowing seven hits. Jared Hughes pitched a scoreless eighth and Arquimedes Caminero gave up a deep homer to James McCann in the ninth.
The Pirates have won four of five since the Cincinnati series last week.