FINAL: TIGERS 10, PIRATES 0
When you see the highlights of a no-hitter, there's always one of those great plays that the pitcher's defense made behind him to preserve the feat.
On this night, Nick Castellanos couldn't make that play.
It was the bottom of the sixth inning, and Justin Verlander got the first two outs with ease, but Castellanos couldn't make a diving play on a laser off the bat of Josh Bell that hit the Tigers third baseman right in the glove.
Verlander was spectacular against the Pirates, tossing eight scoreless innings while giving up just the one hit on 113 pitches. He was pitching more to contact and getting quick outs early in the game, picking up the strikeouts late in the game on his way to six.
Verlander also got an early lift from his teammates, who put up three runs in the first two frames that allowed their starter to settle into the game. Ian Kinsler went deep to left field for his 11th home run of the season to put the Tigers up 3-0 in the second.
Castellanos' three-run triple in the seventh inning, along with Ian Kinsler's two-run double in the eighth were the cherry on top for the Tigers offense.
Despite being the guy that couldn't save the no-hitter, Castellanos delivered 5 RBI for the Tigers in the blowout win.
It's been a disappointing season for the Tigers, to say the least. A Verlander no-hitter would have been something to celebrate, as it feels like he's been oh-so-close quite a few times since his last no-no in 2011.
As it stands, the Tigers will take the victory and move on, while Verlander will be happy with the fact that his ERA has dipped to 3.97 after hitting 4.96 in early July.
Top 9th: Tigers 10, Pirates 0
Josh Bell struck again with a one-out double off of Shane Greene to right-center. Pinch-hitting Chris Stewart singled to left field to put runners on the corners for Gregory Polanco, who grounded into an inning-ending double play to preserve the shutout.
Bottom 8th: Tigers 10, Pirates 0
John Hicks drew a leadoff walk from new Pirates reliever Daniel Hudson. After giving up another free pass to Romine, Hudson appeared to have a double play ball off the bat of Jose Iglesias, but John Jaso and Jordy Mercer couldn't get on the same page as Mercer dropped the ball and everyone was safe. Well, Ian Kinsler poured it on with a three-run double to left-center that cleared the bases and put the Tigers up 9-0.
After Jim Aducci struck out swinging, James McCann was able to notch a single to right field, moving Kinsler up to third and chasing Hudson. Insert A.J. Schugel, who gave up an RBI single to Nick Castellanos, pushing the Tigers lead to 10-0 and giving the Tigers third baseman his fifth RBI of the night.
Top 8th: Tigers 6, Pirates 0
Francisco Cervelli struck out swinging, Starling Marte struck out looking and Adam Frazier grounded out back to the mound as Justin Verlander continues to dominate the Pirates.
Verlander's pitch count is up to 113.
Bottom 7th: Tigers 6, Pirates 0
After Jose Iglesias grounded out to start the inning, Pirates starter Ivan Nova started to show some rust by issuing back-to-back walks to Ian Kinsler and Jim Aducci. If that wasn't enough to persuade the Pirates to take Nova out of the game, maybe hitting Miguel Cabrera in an 0-2 count should have been, as Nick Castellanos cleared the bases with a three-run triple to the gap in right-center that put the Tigers up 6-0.
Needless to say, that chain of events spelled the end of the night for Nova.
Top 7th: Tigers 3, Pirates 0
Gregory Polanco fouled out, and Justin Verlander dusted off Jordy Mercer and John Jaso bring tonight's strikeout total to four. His pitch count has hit 100.
Bottom 6th: Tigers 3, Pirates 0
Mikie Mahtook singled to left to leadoff the frame, but that was all the Tigers could muster against Ivan Nova in the sixth.
Victor Martinez flew out to center field, John Hicks flew out to left and Andrew Romine did the same to end the frame.
Top 6th: Tigers 3, Pirates 0
Josh Bell broke up the party at Comerica Park with a sharp double that third baseman Nick Castellanos got his glove on but just couldn't come up with. Verlander bounced back to get Josh Harrison to line out to first to end the inning.
Adam Frazier flew out to center field and Andrew McCutchen grounded out to shortstop to start the frame.
Bottom 5th: Tigers 3, Pirates 0
Jim Aducci struck out swinging, Miguel Cabrera grounded out to second and Nick Castellanos flew out to left field as the Tigers went down in order against Ivan Nova in the fifth.
Top 5th: Tigers 3, Pirates 0
John Jason flew out to center field, Francisco Cervelli flew out to right field on a nice running grab by Jim Aducci and Starling Marte did the same on a ball Aducci nearly misplayed. Each Pirates at-bat is taking on big meaning right about now, as Justin Verlander has a no-hitter going at Comerica Park through five innings.
Bottom 4th: Tigers 3, Pirates 0
Andrew Romine singled to right field, but Jose Iglesias grounded into a double play and Ian Kinsler flew out to deep center field to end the inning.
Top 4th: Tigers 3, Pirates 0
Josh Bell drew a four-pitch, one-out walk. After Justin Verlander got Josh Harrison to fly out to right field, Gregory Polanco drew the third walk of the night from Verlander. Jordy Mercer lined out to second to end the frame.
Though he's put four men on base (3 BB, HBP), Verlander has not allowed a hit through four innings.
Bottom 3rd: Tigers 3, Pirates 0
Miguel Cabrera led off with a double to left field, and after Nick Castellanos grounded out to shortstop, Mikie Mahtook singled to left field to put runners on the corners for Victor Martinez. The Tigers couldn't put anymore runs on the board this time around, as Martinez struck out swinging and John Hicks grounded out to shortstop to end the frame.
Top 3rd: Tigers 3, Pirates 0
Jordy Mercer flew out to right field. In the next at-bat, John Jaso reached base after being nicked by a Justin Verlander pitch, making him the first Pirates baserunner of the night. After striking out Francisco Cervelli, Verlander walked Starling Marte, but he was able to get out of the inning by getting Adam Frazier to ground out to second.
Bottom 2nd: Tigers 3, Pirates 0
John Hicks doubled to leadoff the second, moving up to third on an error in the outfield. That was enough for Andrew Romine, who flew out to left field to pick up the RBI on a sacrifice fly, putting the Tigers up 2-0.
Jose Iglesias struck out swinging, but Ian Kinsler wasn't ready for the inning to come to a close, blasting a solo home run over the fence in left field to put the Tigers up 3-0.
Top 2nd: Tigers 1, Pirates 0
Josh Bell struck out swinging, Josh Harrison fouled out and Gregory Polanco flew out to left field as Justin Verlander cruised through a second inning unscathed.
Bottom 1st: Tigers 1, Pirates 0
Ian Kinsler notched a leadoff single to left field. After Jim Aducci flew out to left field, Miguel Cabrera singled down the third base line to put two men on for Nick Castellanos, who drove home Kinsler with a single to center field that put the Tigers up 1-0.
The Tigers weren't able to do anymore damage against Pittsburgh starter Ivan Nova, as Mikie Mahtook struck out swinging and Victor Martinez grounded out to first to end the frame.
Top 1st: Tigers 0, Pirates 0
Starling Marte grounded out to third, Adam Frazier grounded out to second and Andrew McCutchen did the same as Justin Verlander got through the first inning on just 10 pitches.
1. Ian Kinsler, 2B
2. Jim Adduci, RF
3. Miguel Cabrera, 1B
4. Nicholas Castellanos, 3B
5. Mikie Mahtook, CF
6. Victor Martinez, DH
7. John Hicks, C
8. Andrew Romine, LF
9. Jose Iglesias, SS
Justin Verlander, RHP
1. Starling Marte, LF
2. Adam Frazier, 2B
3. Andrew McCutchen, CF
4. Josh Bell, DH
5. Josh Harrison, 3B
6. Gregory Polanco, RF
7. Jordy Mercer, SS
8. John Jaso, 1B
9. Francisco Cervelli, C
Ivan Nova, RHP