Simon stars as Tigers nip Pirates

Geoff Robinson, Special to The Detroit News
Detroit Tigers' Rajai Davis, left, celebrates with Miguel Cabrera after hitting a solo home run off Pittsburgh Pirates starting pitcher Francisco Liriano during the sixth inning.

Final: Tigers 1, Pirates 0

For the second straight night, the Tigers got eight innings of shutout baseball from one of the pitching staff's new faces.

Alfredo Simon, who struggled with his control in the early going, settled in and allowed just two hits en route to his second win in a Tigers uniform.

Joakim Soria came out for the 9th inning to close things down, and close things down he did as he picked up his fourth save of the season.

Corey Hart grounded out to shortstop to leadoff the inning, Josh Harrison flew out to left field and Gregory Polanco struck out as the Pirates went down in order in the 9th.

The Tigers are off tomorrow before returning to Comerica Park on Friday for a weekend series with the White Sox.

Top 9th (Tigers 1, Pirates 0)

Pirates closer Mark Melancon came on to pitch the 9th to try and keep the Tigers lead at just one run.

Miguel Cabrera walked to 1st base to leadoff the inning after a bizarre situation occurred.

On a full count, Cabrera checked his swing as the ball went off the Pirates catcher's glove and hit the umpire in the mask. The umpire, Jerry Lane, appeared dazed and had to be taken out of the ballgame. There was some debate about whether it was a foul ball or ball four to Cabrera. After a lengthy changing of the guard as Bob Davidson went back to put on umpire's gear, he came out and awarded first base to Cabrera, giving the Tigers a man on first base with nobody out.

After about a 15-minute delay, J.D. Martinez came to the plate and flied out to left field and Rajai Davis grounded into a double play to end the inning.

Bottom 8th (Tigers 1, Pirates 0)

Pedro Alvarez grounded out to second, Francisco Cervelli flew out to center field and Jordy Mercer grounded out to shortstop to end the inning.

That should be it for Simon tonight, who was masterful in giving up just two hits. His final line will be: 8IP, 108 pitches, 2H, 2K, 0BB

Top 8th (Tigers 1, Pirates 0)

Alfredo Simon came up to the plate to lead off the 8th inning, meaning he'll be back out there for the Tigers in the bottom of the inning. New Pirates pitcher Tony Watson got Simon to bounce a ball off home plate for an out after he was tagged by the catcher.

Rajai Davis grounded out and Ian Kinsler flied out deep to right field to end the inning.

Bottom 7th (Tigers 1, Pirates 0)

Andrew McCutchen popped out to shortstop, Neil Walker grounded out and Starling Marte flied out to right field.

Alfredo Simon cruised through that inning for the Tigers, throwing just nine pitches. The pitcher's spot in the lineup is leading off the 8th for the Tigers, so we'll find out if Simon will be coming back out for the 8th almost immediately based on whether Brad Ausmus pinch-hits for him.

Top 7th (Tigers 1, Pirates 0)

Jared Hughes came on to pitch the seventh for the Pirates and struck out the side (Yoenis Cespedes, James McCann and Jose Iglesias).

Nick Castellanos singled up the middle following the Cespedes strikeout, but he didn't go any further than first base.

Bottom 6th (Tigers 1, Pirates 0)

Andrew Lambo, pinch-hitting for Francisco Liriano, flew out to center field, Josh Harrison grounded out, and Gregory Polanco lined out to end the inning

Alfredo Simon (83 pitches) has given up just two hits through six innings for the Tigers.

Top 6th (Tigers 1, Pirates 0)

Rajai Davis hit the first pitch of the inning deep to left field and over the fence for the first run of the game to give the Tigers a 1-0 lead.

Ian Kinsler and Miguel Cabrera both flew out to right field, and J.D. Martinez struck out to end the inning.

Bottom 5th (Tigers 0, Pirates 0)

Pedro Alvarez grounded out into the shift in shallow right field, Francisco Cervelli flew out to center field where Rajai Davis made a nice catch on the run and Jordy Mercer struck out to end the inning.

A nice inning there for Alfredo Simon. He showed good control to all three hitters he faced.

Top 5th (Tigers 0, Pirates 0)

Nick Castellanos singled to right field to start the inning, but he was picked off trying to steal second base.

James McCann struck out and Jose Iglesias drew a walk before the inning ended with a groundout off the bat of Alfredo Simon.

Francisco Liriano has racked up six strike outs, but his pitch count is a bit elevated (78).

Bottom 4th (Tigers 0, Pirates 0)

Andrew McCutchen singled to left field with two outs and Neil Walker singled to right field to put men on first and second.

Starling Marte came up and hit the first pitch he saw to Nick Castellanos, who tagged the bag at third for the last out of the inning.

Josh Harrison grounded out to third and Gregory Polanco grounded out to second for the first two outs of the inning.

Simon threw a lot of pitches in the fourth inning and his pitch count is now up to 61 (35 strikes, 26 balls).

Top 4th (Tigers 0, Pirates 0)

Miguel Cabrera grounded out to shortstop, J.D. Martinez struck out and Yoenis Cespedes grounded out to shortstop as the Tigers went down 1-2-3.

Francisco Liriano has five strikeouts through the first four innings (64 pitches).

Bottom 3rd (Tigers 0, Pirates 0)

Francisco Cervelli flew out to center field, Jordy Mercer flew out to right field and Francisco Liriano lined out to second base.

That was easily Simon's best inning so far. He set the bottom part of the Pirates lineup down quick and easy.

Top 3rd (Tigers 0, Pirates 0)

Jose Iglesias singled to right field and stole second base, and Alfredo Simon bunted a ball foul with two strikes for the first out of the inning.

Rajai Davis popped out to right field and Ian Kinsler flew out to center field as the Tigers stranded a man on base for the second straight inning.

Bottom 2nd (Tigers 0, Pirates 0)

Neil Walker popped out to shortstop, Starling Marte grounded out to third and Pedro Alvarez grounded out to first.

Alfredo Simon hasn't been completely sharp, but he's made the right pitches at the right time. He's struggled a bit with his control. He's thrown 26 pitches (13 strikes, 13 balls).

Top 2nd (Tigers 0, Pirates 0)

J.D. Martinez singled to start the inning and stole second base after Yoenis Cespedes struck out.

Nick Castellanos lined out to shortstop and James McCann struck out to end the inning.

Bottom 1st (Tigers 0, Pirates 0)

The Pirates got a baserunner with two outs when Alfredo Simon hit Andrew McCutchen with the first pitch of the at-bat, but McCutchen ran on a 3-0 count to Neil Walker and was thrown out by James McCann. McCutchen was initially called safe, but Brad Ausmus challenged the play and got it right.

Josh Harrison struck out and Gregory Polanco flied out to center field for the first two outs of the inning.

Top 1st (Tigers 0, Pirates 0)

Rajai Davis struck out to lead off the game against Pittsburgh starter Francisco Liriano, Ian Kinsler grounded out to the mound and Miguel Cabrera grounded out to short as the Tigers went quietly in the 1st inning.

Tigers lineup

1. Rajai Davis, CF

2. Ian Kinsler, 2B

3. Miguel Cabrera, 1B

4. J.D. Martinez, RF

5. Yoenis Cespedes, LF

6. Nick Castellanos, 3B

7. James McCann, C

8. Jose Iglesias, SS

9. Alfredo Simon, P

Pirates lineup

1. Josh Harrison, 3B

2. Gregory Polanco, RF

3. Andrew McCutchen, CF

4. Neil Walker, 2B

5. Starling Marte, LF

6. Pedro Alvarez, 1B

7. Francisco Cervelli, C

8. Jordy Mercer, SS

9. Francisco Liriano, P