Detroit Tigers, Saltalamacchia, Beat Pirates 7-3
By Matt St Jean
Detroit Tigers players didn’t get off to a good start Wednesday as they began the tail end of a home-and-home series against in Pittsburgh. However, things turned around and Detroit was able to win 7-3.
Detroit Tigers starting pitcher Shane Greene looked awful early, most likely because he hadn’t pitched since the Tigers season opener over a week ago. Greene recorded his first career save in a relief effort when the Tigers won in extra innings against the Miami Marlins.
Wednesday night didn’t start off so smooth for Greene, and it looked like it was going to be a long night for the bullpen when it took the Tigers fifth starter 35 pitches to get out of the first inning. Greene walked the Pirates leadoff man before striking out Andrew McCutchen. David Freese then reached on an infield single, followed by back to back walks on eight consecutive pitches to put the Pirates up 1-0.
The bases were still loaded when Gregory Polanco outstretched a double-play ball to make the score 2-0 on the fielders choice, and Greene struck out the next batter to end the threat.
After the treacherous first inning things really calmed down for Shane. He came out in the second and struck out the side, and began the third by sitting McCutchen down for the second time as a part of five straight strike out vitims.
It was an interesting night for the Pirates Centerfielder, as McCutchen struck out again in the 6th to complete the strikeout hat trick. Greene then struck out Starling Marte for his 7th of the game, before popping out the innings last hitter to end his night. He managed to throw 97 pitches in a stellar outing considering the long first inning. If Greene can continue to produce as the fifth starter, Daniel Norris can take his time healing from an injury.
The Tigers began their scoring in the 4th, when Ian Kinsler blasted his 3rd home run of the season to deep center field, cutting the Pirates lead in half. It took Kinsler 80 games to hit his 3rd home run last season, compared to doing it not even half way through April this season.
Two innings later the Pirates starter was pulled for Reliever Arquimedes Caminero and the Tigers went to work. Caminero got out the first two batter but then the wheels completely came off. A double, a walk and a Nick Castellanos single later, the bases were loaded for catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia and he made Caminero pay when he blasted a grand slam home run to deep right field, putting the Tigers up 5-2. It was Saltalamacchia’s 100th career home run, and his 2nd with the Tigers since joining the team in the offseason.
In the 8th inning the Pirates made a little noise after Tigers reliever Mark Lowe walked the first batter and allowed Andrew McCutchen to get his revenge off Tigers pitching when he doubled off the top of the left field wall to score the runner, cutting the lead to 5-3.
The Tigers tacked on more runs in the 9th as Kinsler knocked in another run when Jose Iglesias tagged after a pop out to left field. Later in the inning J.D. Martinez singled off the glove of second baseman Josh Harrison to make the score 7-3.
Detroit finishes their series against Pittsburgh tomorrow as two of the games best starting pitchers in Jordan Zimmermann and Gerrit Cole battle one another at 12:35PM.