The Tigers didn't do much in the second, although Ray reached on a two-out error by Jayson Nix. Russ doubled to The Notch to lead off, and an out later Gaby brought him him with a two-bagger over third and under Miguel Cabrera, plating himself when Travis Snider dropped a quail into left center for yet another double that Zeke Cabrera let drop on a short-armed stab. Nix and Eddie quietly ended the frame.
After whiffing the first two batters in the third, Miggy walked on a 3-2 change that missed the mark by not much. Martinez bounced out; the only red flag is that Eddie is at 50 pitches. The double barrage continued as Josh led off with a two bagger rolled up the line. Josh stole third with an out and came in when Jordy took a 3-2 fastball up the middle past a drawn-in infield. He moved to second on a wild pitch. Ray got Russ swinging at a full count change, and he got Marte swinging at another change.
In the fourth, Eddie left a one-out sinker at the knees and in middle of the plate to Alex Avila, and he dropped the pitch into the bullpen beside The Notch to make it 3-2. An out later, Ray got aboard again with an infield bleeder. But in an example of what a funny game it is, Rajai Davis' drive smoked to left center ended up in Snider's mitt.
Travis singled with an out. Nix put a charge into one, but Davis ran it down by the track in left and Eddie sat down after three pitches. Ray has been pitching nicely; the Bucs are having problems with his change, and he could have the lead now if Detroit had brought their gloves with them tonight.
Eddie came back from a 3-0 count to get leadoff hitter Zeke Cabrera on a bouncer in the fifth. He toughed out another hitter, getting Ian Kinsler on a grounder after digging a 3-1 hole. No such luck with Miggy; he lost him on four pitches. He went after Martinez and got another roller to end the frame.
Josh walked on four pitches to open for the Bucs, and was bunted to second by El Coffee. A Jordy bouncer moved him to third. Russ couldn't bring him home, K'ing on a foul tip after taking a couple of very tough strike calls from plate ump Alfonso Marquez. Both pitchers are pushing 90 pitches, so it's pretty close to becoming the bullpens' game.
In the sixth, a couple of nice plays by Josh and Eddie turned grounders into outs and a K finished off Motown. Starling walked to start up the Bucs. Brad Ausmus waved in Al Alberquerque, and Clint sent up Ike for Gaby. Marte stole second and rolled home on Ike's double to right center, a nice bit of hitting after being in a 0-2 hole. After a pair of routine outs, Pedro stepped up for Eddie, drawing a warm response as he has ever since his benching, and flew out to short left.
Justine Wilson took the ball in the seventh, and the good Justin showed up, filling the zone with strikes and working a calm frame. After an out, El Coffee banged a ball through the right side for a single and swiped second...except upon review, he was rung up; replay showed that he was indeed out. Jordy walked, but Russ went down for the third time tonight.
Tony Watson climbed the hill in the eighth to face the middle of the Detroit order. He got a longish fly out from Kinsler, fell behind Miggy 3-0 and came all the way back to whiff him and Martinez flew out after digging an 0-2 hole. Tony couldn't have painted the corner any better with a laser this frame. Phil Coke got the ball, and gave up a bunt single that he didn't play very well to Starling to open the inning, but Marte was erased on a quick Ike 3-6-3 DP. Jordy swung through a heater and Mark the Shark took over.
With an out, Avila pulled a cutter into right for a single, and Nick Castellanos followed with another knock; the Shark has been up with the last couple of pitches. Don Kelly came in to run and Torii Hunter grabbed a stick. He took a two strike curve to the track in right, freezing the runners at first and second. Davis rolled over on a cutter and the 5-3 iced the cake.
Give Eddie credit; he wasn't at his best against a team that can swing the wood, but kept grinding through the order. The Bucs had trouble against a soft-tossing lefty, but managed to put up enough points to support some pretty tough pitching. Nice win, especially after the San Diego series. Now it's off to the Motor City for a pair followed by a testy schedule into September. And they're positioned well.
The Brewers, Cards and Reds all lost tonight. So the Pirates are 1-1/2 games behind the Brewers for NL Central pennant and 1-1/2 games ahead of Saint Louis and San Fran for the top wildcard spot.
Vance Worley and Buck Farmer will open the Detroit rematch series at Coamerica Park.
- Go-Go Bucco: The Pirates have stolen a base in eight straight games.
- The Bucs are 5-3 since Cutch has been out, and haven't had a full bench during that time.
- The Pirates drew an average of 33,464 fans per game on this eight-game homestand.
- Neil Walker was not available tonight off the bench tonight.
- The Bucs drew 34, 919 tonight for Hans Wagner bobbleheads and some hardball. That gives the club a to-date gate of 1,831,367, nicely ahead of last year's attendance of 1,689,015.
- Gerrit Cole will make at least one more rehab start at Indy on the 16th.