The Pirates struggled to support Trevor Williams, who turned in his usual good start, but they got flawless relief work and took their second straight ten-inning game from the Tigers, this one 3-2.
The Pirates were helpless against Detroit’s Spencer Turnbull, a decent-ish prospect (characterized by Baseball America as having a chance to compete for the bullpen) making his seventh career start. They flailed away to little effect, getting just two hits and two walks against him in six innings. The only run came in the fourth when Tigers’ shortstop Ronny Rodriguez batted away a Jung Ho Kang grounder for an error that let Josh Bell score from second.
The Tigers got that back and one more in the bottom half thanks to Williams’ wildness and some poor defensive work by left fielder Jason Martin. After a Miguel Cabrera single, Williams loaded the bases with one out with a hit batsman and a walk. A fly ball to shallow left by Rodriguez should not have scored the slow-footed Cabrera, but Martin’s looping throw was well off the plate. Even then the play was fairly close, but the Pirates’ challenge was correctly rejected. Tigers’ catcher John Hicks followed with another fly to shallow left, but Martin started back on it, letting it drop for an RBI single and giving Detroit a 2-1 lead.
Williams had been very efficient through the first three innings, but he threw 37 in the interminable fourth. That forced him out after six, with six hits, two runs, a walk, two hit batsmen and five strikeouts. Kyle Crick got back into action in the seventh, putting up a quick inning.
The Pirates finally woke up, just a little bit, in the eighth. J.B. Shuck, batting for the hopeless Erik Gonzalez, singled, Adam Frazier walked and Starling Marte got hit. The Tigers brought in a lefty to face Colin Moran, who fanned. Bell worked a full count and got a run in with a fly ball, but that was all from that threat.
From there, the game went into extras, thanks in part to a scoreless eighth from Rich Rodriguez and an impressive ninth from Nick Burdi. The Pirates doubled their hit total three batters into the tenth. Frazier doubled and took third on a single by Marte. Moran then singled for his second tenth-inning go-ahead hit in less than a week. Felipe Vázquez did what he does in the bottom half, fanning Cabrera to end it. The Bucs have now won three straight and stand at 10-6.