Jose Osuna’s three-run homer to center field in the bottom of the second inning, in his first plate appearance of the year, was all that Chad Kuhl needed as the Pirates cruised to an 8-3 victory in the second game of a double header in a nearly deserted PNC Park.
Osuna was selected as the 26th man for the second game and got the start in right field. After Josh Bell and David Freese opened the second inning with hits to left, Osuna took a 1-1 pitch into the bushes in center field.
Kuhl kept the Tigers off the board until they tallied one in the fourth, but it could have been worse. Jeimer Candelario led off with a triple to the notch in left center and scored on a line single to right by Nicholas Castellanos, who then went to second base on a wild pitch. However, with no outs he went back to the bag to tag as the next batter Niko Goodrum drilled a double off the center field fence, and Castellanos could only advance to third. That proved pivotal as JaCoby Jones lined into a double play as Max Moroff flipped the ball to Jordy Mercer covering second.
Detroit scored two more in the fifth on a single by Dixon Machado and a two-out homer to Leonys Martin, who had also gone deep the lead off the first game. But that was all there was as Kuhl waked one and K’d eight in his six innings of work.
Michael Feliz got through a scoreless seventh despite two deep blasts that just barely missed each foul pole, and George Kontos pitched a clean eighth, even as he failed to register a strikeout. Felipe gave up a hit in the ninth, but that was all she wrote.
The Pirates bats awakened with 18 runs on the day, but fortunately the Tigers scored 10 fewer runs in the second game than they did in the first. For the Bucs, Elias Diaz had three hits and David Freese, Mercer and Osuna chipped in two apiece.
The teams will wrap up the series at 12:35 Thursday afternnon as Ivan Nova faces Michael Fulmer.