Shoddy outfield defense led to the Tigers jumping on Pirates’ starter Chad Kuhl for a pair of runs in the first, but the Bucs stormed back with three in the third off rookie starter Ryan Carpenter and and other five in the fifth, powered by three homers, to take a lead they’d never relinquish.
Harrison, who had singled to lead off the game, came to the plate again in the third after Elias Diaz had led off the frame with a single to left-center. After fouling off three 2-2 pitches, Harrison lofted a drive deep into the left-field corner. After hitting the wall and bouncing back onto the field, the Pirates were in business with runners at second third and none out. However, manager Clint Hurdle asked for a video review which overturned the call - the ball had hit the back wall a few inches above the fence and was a game tying homer. After Jordy Mercer flew out to center, Starling Marte launched a no-doubt blast into the left field seats, giving the Pirates a 3-2 lead.
Kuhl had settled down in the second and third innings, but Nicholas Castellanos led off the fourth with a drive to the wall in right-center for a triple and one out later James McCann lined a single to left to again tie the game.
The Pirates then appeared to put the game out of reach in the fifth against reliever Buck Farmer. Diaz again led off with a single and Harrison lined a double to the gap in left center. After a sac fly by Jordy Mercer out the Pirates up 4-3, Marte walked, harrison scored on a wild pitch, Francisco Cervelli singled to drive in Marte and David Freese unexpectedly turned on a pitch, yanking it into the left field seats for a 2-run homer and a Pirates 8-3 lead.
Kuhl had an easy fifth, but Miguel Cabrera led off the bottom of the sixth with a blast to the right center seats, cutting the lead to four. After a pair of ground ball singles, Kuhl was gone, keeping his streak alive of having never faced a batter the fourth time through the order.
After Edgar Santana quickly disposed of Julio Iglesias to end the inning, when it came time for the seventh Hurdle gave the ball to the last unused pitcher left in the pen - Tyler Glasnow. He started shakily with two fastballs in the dirt, but then began pumping it past the batters, none of whom appeared comfortable in the box. After a pair of strikeouts Jaimer Candelario lined a ball to right that a diving Gregory Polanco couldn’t hold on to. Cabrera walked, but Castellanos grounded out to end the threat. Glasnow was back out for the eighth and allowed another walk between three soft hit balls.
In what you might never have expected to hear even a few hours before, Bucs Dugout commenters were clamoring for Glasnow to finish out the game - but he was done and in came the Lithuanian dandy Dovydas Neverauskus. But after a pair of line drive hits had cut the lead to three and suddenly it was a save situation. With that, Hurdle’s hand was forced to reach out for another round of the Venezuelan Nightmare. Felipe Rivero didn’t disappoint. Although fellow countryman and professional hitter Cabrera lined another hit to bring the Tigers with two, Rivero again made Candelario, Castellanos and the random minor league free agent look silly while notching his second save of the day - but also more than likely making him unavailable for the homer opener some 16 hours later. If the three inches of snow expected in Pittsburgh Monday morning doesn’t have any effect on the schedule.