Trevor Williams battled frigid weather, control problems and plate umpire
Mr. Magoo Larry Barnett to throw six hitless innings at the Detroit Tigers in a 1-0 win. The Pirates have won their first two games of 2018 and can bring out the brooms in the late game of today’s doubleheader.
Williams didn’t have an easy time of it, walking five and throwing only 42 of his 85 pitches for strikes. Or more accurately, 43 of his 85 pitches were called balls, as Barnett bolstered the case for automated ball/strike calls. Williams had help from his friends, getting double plays in each of the first three innings. That included a strike-em-out, throw-em-out, with a dead-on throw by Francisco Cervelli, to end the third. That was Williams’ only strikeout, as he otherwise induced a lot of weak contact. He finished stronger than he started, retiring the side in the fourth and sixth innings, sandwiched around a two-walk fifth.
The Pirates meanwhile weren’t doing much better against Michael Fulmer. He went eight innings on just 90 pitches, allowing only four hits. The first of those, a one-out double by Gregory Polanco in the first, drove in Adam Frazier, who had walked, with the game’s only run. The Pirates otherwise squelched what chances they had by grounding into two double plays of their own and getting three runners thrown out on the bases.
The Pirates’ bullpen looked markedly different from the season opener. Michael Feliz did allow the Tigers’ first hit, a line double into the left field corner by Nicholas Castellanos, but he retired his other three batters, so he’s no longer saddled with an infinite ERA. George Kontos survived two runners in the eighth and, to Pirate fans’ great relief, Felipe Rivero looked like Felipe Rivero in the ninth, fanning the side against the middle of Detroit’s order.