Geez, talk about your pitching duel. After three innings, there was one runner allowed between Jeff Karstens and Brad Penny, a two-out walk in the third to Ronny Cedeno.
JK kept dealing through the fourth; the Bucs finally roused themselves. Jose Tabata shot a ball off the pitcher and legged out a hit, followed by a Garrett Jones walk. Neil Walker went down looking; Lyle Overbay took a ball to the opposite field, but it didn't have quite enough to get out and was tucked away on the track.
Dewey was clutch, and lined an RBI single into right. Brandon Wood walked to load the sacks, but Cedeno grounded a 1-2 changeup to second to end the frame. The Tigers got their first runner on in the fifth when Andy Dirks dropped a two-out, 3-2 fastball on the corner into center for a soft knock. Don Kelly tried to follow suit, but McCutch made a nice sliding catch to put Detroit away.
With one away, McCutch dribbled an infield single up the third base side and JT followed with a knock up the middle. Jones went down on three pitches, and Walker ended the frame with a first pitch fly to left center.
Ramon Santiago took a sinker that was up in the zone over the right center field fence; it was his first and made it 1-1. With one out, Austin Jackson doubled to right; the sixth inning red flag was waving for Karstens again. But he got the next pair of Tigers to escape without any more damage, although Brennan Boesch took Jones to the track for the final out.
Overbay restored the lead quickly when he took the first pitch out for his fourth long ball of the year; it went out in right center at just about the same spot Santiago's homer left the yard. With an out, Wood drew a four pitch walk, none of the balls missing by much. Cedeno swung through a nasty curve, then got a ball he could handle and singled into right to put runners on the corners.
Clint Hurdle sent up Matt Diaz for Karstens, who struggled through the sixth. The righty-on-righty matchup worked out for the Bucs when Diaz hit one into the hole for an RBI force out. The relay pulled the firstbaseman off the bag; it would loom large. McCutch walked, and after 105 pitches, that was it for Penny.
Hard throwing Brayan Villareal came on to face Tabata. The Bucs pulled off a double steal, and JT walked on a 3-2 pitch to load the bases for Jones. He caught a high and away heater, and doubled in a pair to give Pittsburgh some breathing room.
Walker took a changeup to the Notch to plate two more, and it was 7-1 after six. Karstens went six innings, giving up a run on three hits and a walk with four K's; he tossed 79 pitches in another strong outing. JK is now 3-2 with a 3.32 ERA; who misses Ohlie?
Bucco handyman Daniel McCutchen took the ball in the seventh. Miguel Cabrera started off with a long single to right. Victor Martinez followed with a knock, grounding a tight knee-high heater into right. Nice pitch, better hitting. D-Mac cleaned up the mess with a routine fly and 6-4-3 DP to keep Motown from toeing the plate.
Jimmy Leyland sent out Joaquin Benoit for the Bucco half of the seventh, and he sat down the Pirates in order. Clint Hurdle had Chris Resop take the hill to get some work in a low leverage spot.
He gave up a leadoff single, then McCutch botched a ball in center. CR whiffed Austin Jackson; ditto Scott Sizemore. Boesch flew out, and Resop put up a zero and got a needed shot of confidence.
Jose Velverde took over in the eighth. He got a pair of grounders, then walked Tabata and gave up a knock to right to Jones. Walker was fed an 0-2 splitter that caught way too much of the plate; he launched it into the seats in right center, capping a career high 5-RBI night.
Jose Ascanio came in to collect the final three outs. Cabrera greeted him with a line knock into center, but he got the next three hitters routinely using a fastball-changeup mix, striking out Kelly to end the game.
Hey, good start to the homestand. Free t-shirts and a Pirate romp sent the 24,396 fans home happy. Max Scherzer and Kevin Correia mix it up tomorrow night.
-- Pedro was bothered again by tightness in his right quad and sat as a "precautionary" move tonight. He's day-to-day.
-- William Tasker of The Flagrant Fan has his analysis of Charlie Morton; he's become quite the blogger fav recently.
-- Lloyd McClendon, now on the Tiger staff, autographed the infamous "stolen base" that he yanked out of the ground during an argument with ump Rick Reed during his first year as the Bucco skipper. Guess it's ready for auction now.
-- Jonathan Mayo of MLB.com says that the Pirates are still looking at Gerrit Cole, Anthony Rendon, Danny Hultzen, Dylan Bundy, Bubba Starling, and perhaps even Archie Bradley for their top pick. He leans toward Coles as the pick.