Live Tigers Blog: Tigers beat Pirates in Pittsburgh
FINAL: TIGERS 7, PIRATES 3
Shane Greene struggled mightily with his command in the first inning of his first start of the season, looking a lot like the guy that most Tigers fans remember from his final 11 starts of 2015.
But then, something clicked.
Greene settled in and finished six strong innings, not allowing anymore runs after giving up two in the first inning. He struck out seven Pirates and gave up just three hits while walking three.
Jarrod Saltalamacchia delivered the game's biggest hit, a grand slam in the sixth inning that put the Tigers up 5-2. It was the 100th homer of Salty's career.
In the bottom of the ninth, Francisco Rodriguez walked Francisco Cervelli to leadoff the inning. Rodriguez bounced back with a double play on a line drive hit by Gregory Polanco that was snagged by Kinsler, who caught Cervelli inbetween first and second for the third out. Josh Harrison flew out to right field to end the game.
Top 9th: Tigers 7, Pirates 3
The Tigers loaded the bases with nobody out in the ninth inning and Ian Kinsler delivered a sacrifice fly to bring home an insurance run and stretch the Tigers lead to 6-3.
Jose Iglesias drew a leadoff walk from Cory Luebke, Anthony Gose singled to right field with two strikes after failing to move Iglesias up with a sacrifice bunt and Victor Martinez drew a walk in a pinch-hitting appearance to load the bases for Kinsler.
Josh Harrison robbed Justin Upton of an RBI single with a diving stop at second base. Miguel Cabrera drew a walk to again load the bases and Luebke was given the hook for former Tiger Neftali Feliz. Harrison followed his masterful play with a blunder as a J.D. Martinez liner went off his glove and helped the Tigers push the lead to 7-3.
Feliz struck out Andrew Romine to end the inning.
Bottom 8th: Tigers 5, Pirates 3
Mark Lowe came out for the eighth and walked the pinch-hitting Sean Rodriguez to leadoff the inning.
Lowe got John Jaso to groundout to first base, moving Rodriguez up to second. That's when Andrew McCutchen broke out of his 1-for-12 funk in this series, nearly missing a homer while settling for an RBI double off the top of the left field wall to cut the Tigers lead to 5-3.
Lowe got David Freese to ground into the second out, moving McCutchen up to third. No more harm came to Lowe, however, as he struck out Starling Marte looking with a pinpoint fastball on the outside to end the threat.
Top 8th: Tigers 5, Pirates 2
Perhaps Clint Hurdle should have brought in A.J. Schugel earlier. Schugel set the Tigers down in order and has performed well since coming on for Arquimedes Caminero following Jarrod Saltalamacchia's sixth inning grand slam.
J.D. Martinez grounded out harmlessly back to the mound, Nick Castellanos flew out to right field and Saltalamacchia flew out to center field to end the inning.
Bottom 7th: Tigers 5, Pirates 2
Justin Wilson got the call for the Tigers in the seventh and he delivered, setting Pittsburgh down in order.
Wilson struck out Gregory Polanco on a breaking ball in the dirt, Josh Harrison with some high heat and got Jordy Mercer to groundout to second.
Wilson has been quite impressive in his four appearances this season. The movement on his pitches seem to drive hitters nuts. He appears to have a stronghold on the seventh inning gig.
Top 7th: Tigers 5, Pirates 2
Shane Greene's night is done. Tyler Collins led off the seventh inning and notched a pinch-hit single to right field. Collins followed that hit up with a mistake, though, as Ian Kinsler hit a shallow fly into left field that Starling Marte tried to make a diving play on. Collins must've thought the ball was caught because Marte picked it up and threw a head-first sliding Collins out at second base for the first out of the inning.
Justin Upton grounded out but advanced Ian Kinsler to second base. With two outs and a man on second base, Pittsburgh went after Miguel Cabrera. The move paid off as A.J. Schugel struck the big man out on three pitches.
Bottom 6th: Tigers 5, Pirates 2
Shane Greene just struck out Andrew McCutchen for the third time tonight. You read that right. Greene has absolutely been on fire since his awfully shaky first inning.
David Freese notched a one-out single to left field for the Pirates' third hit of the night, but Greene bounced back yet again and has simply been on fire since his shaky first inning.
Greene struck out Starling Marte for his seventh punchout of the night and got Francisco Cervelli to flyout to end the inning.
Greene has thrown 97 pitches and could be done for the night. His line sits at: 6 IP, 2 ER, 7 K, 3 H, 2 BB
Top 6th: Tigers 5, Pirates 2
With two outs in the sixth inning, the middle of the Tigers order went to work.
Miguel Cabrera delivered a two-out double to the gap and J.D. Martinez worked a walk before Nick Castellanos loaded the bases with a single to left field. That's when Jarrod Saltalamacchia hit the 100th home run of his career with a bomb to right field for a grand slam.
Jose Iglesias drew a walk from Pirates reliever Arquimedes Caminero, who was pulled for A.J. Schugel. Schugel struck out Anthony Gose to end the inning, but the damage had already been done.
Caminero came on in relief for the Pirates and got Ian Kinsler to fly out deep to left field to leadoff the inning. Caminero then proceeded to dial up his fastball to 101 miles per hour before getting Justin Upton to strikeout swinging at an "off-speed" 92 miles per hour split finger in the dirt.
Bottom 5th: Pirates 2, Tigers 1
It seemed like Shane Greene and Ryan Vogelsong were settling into a duel, but Pirates manager Clint Hurdle had other plans.
Jordy Mercer grounded out to second base on the first pitch of the inning, Cole Figueroa (pinch-hitting for Ryan Vogelsong) lined out to left field and J.D. Martinez took an extra base hit away from John Jaso with a great running catch out in right field.
Interesting move by Clint Hurdle to take Vogelsong out of the game. The Pirates are turning to their bullpen despite Vogelsong giving up just four hits and striking out five on 66 pitches.
Top 5th: Pirates 2, Tigers 1
Jose Iglesias lined out back to the pitcher, Anthony Gose struck out and Shane Greene fouled out for quick fifth inning for Ryan Vogelsong, whose thrown just 66 pitches.
Greene and Vogelsong both have five strikeouts.
Bottom 4th: Pirates 2, Tigers 1
After knocking him to the ground with a first pitch that was high and tight, Shane Greene got Francisco Cervelli to fly out to leadoff the inning. Gregory Polanco followed by grounding out and Josh Harrison did the same as Shane Greene has really settled into a nice rhythm.
Greene threw 35 pitches in the first inning and has thrown just 36 over the last three.
Top 4th: Pirates 2, Tigers 1
The Tigers finally got to Ryan Vogelsong as Ian Kinsler hit his third home run on the short season with a center field blast that cuts the Pirates lead to 2-1.
It could have been a much bigger inning, however.
Justin Upton followed that bomb with a solid stroke to right-center for a single that he decided not to try and stretch into a double.
Miguel Cabrera flew out to center field, but J.D. Martinez picked up the slack with a ground rule double to right field.
With one out and men on second and third, Nick Castellanos grounded out to third on the first pitch he saw. Jarrod Saltalamacchia flew out deep to center field to end the inning.
Bottom 3rd: Pirates 2, Tigers 0
If nothing else, Shane Greene at least has Andrew McCutchen's number. Greene struck out McCutchen for the second time tonight with a nasty slider tailing away from the former MVP.
After walking David Freese, Greene got Starling Marte to ground into an inning-ending double play.
I think it's safe to say Greene has settled down and started locating much better than he did in the first inning. His pitch count is at 58.
Top 3rd: Pirates 2, Tigers 0
Anthony Gose singled to break up the perfect start for Ryan Vogelsong, but he was easily gunned down at second base trying to stretch out nothing more than a solid single to left field.
Jose Iglesias grounded out to leadoff the inning and Shane Greene grounded out as the Tigers have sent the minimum to the plate through three innings.
Bottom 2nd: Pirates 2, Tigers 0
Despite his struggles with location in the first inning, Shane Greene bounced back with a 1-2-3 inning in the second, picking up two more strikeouts to bring his total to four.
Jordy Mercer struck out looking, Ryan Vogelsong struck out swinging and John Jaso grounded out into the shift to end the inning.
Safe to say that was a much better inning from Greene. We'll see how much he has straightened things out in the third when he has to go through the middle of the Pittsburgh order.
Top 2nd: Pirates 2, Tigers 0
J.D. Martinez flew out to center field, Nick Castellanos struck out for the fourth time in his last six at-bats and Jarrod Saltalamacchia became Ryan Vogelson's fourth strikeout victim in another 1-2-3 inning for the right-hander.
Bottom 1st: Pirates 2, Tigers 0
After loading the bases on four pitches, Shane Greene threw four straight balls again to Francisco Cervelli to walk home the first run of the game for the Pirates.
With the bases still loaded, Greene got the ground ball he needed to possibly get out of the inning. Only problem is that it was a slow roller and Gregory Polanco beat out the throw to first base to make it 2-0.
Fortunately, Josh Harrison swinging at a ball in the dirt to get Greene out of an inning in which he threw 35 pitches.
To start the inning, John Jaso turned on a pitch and hit a bullet off the wall in right field that bounced right back to J.D. Martinez for a long leadoff single. Greene came back to strike out Andrew McCutchen. Nick Castellanos got to a tough ball down the line at third, but he couldn't make the throw to keep Miggy on the base.
With one out and two men on, Greene walked Starling Marte to load the bases.
Top 1st: Tigers 0, Pirates 0
Ryan Vogelsong had himself a neat and tidy first inning, setting the Tigers down in order and picking up two strikeouts in the process.
Ian Kinsler struck out looking at a questionable called strike on a fastball inside, Justin Upton worked a full count before he struck out swinging at a borderline pitch up in the zone. Miguel Cabrera lined out softy to short to end the inning.
The scene shifts to Pittsburgh
The Tigers and Pirates continue their series in new surroundings Wednesday.
After splitting two games at Comerica Park, the Tigers and Pirates will each send a right-hander to the mound at PNC Park to make their first start — but their second appearance — of the season.
Shane Greene, who earned a save on Opening Day for Tigers, draws the start to face Ryan Vogelsong, who earned a victory April 8 with two innings of one-run relief against the Reds. First pitch is at 7:05 p.m.
The last time Greene pitched at PNC park, he tossed eight scoreless innings in victory April 14 of last season.
He's earned rave reviews from Tigers staff, fans and writers all spring and tonight he'll have a chance to show that he deserves a spot in this rotation for the duration of the 2016 season.
The Tigers are 4-2 after Tuesday’s 8-2 victory, which dropped the Pirates to 5-3. The eight runs matched the Tigers’ season high from their Opening Day victory. J.D. Martinez drove in a pair of runs, and leads the Tigers early in the season with a .440 average.
Tigers at Pirates
First pitch: 7:05 p.m. Wednesday, PNC Park, Pittsburgh
TV/radio: FSD/97.1 FM
Starters: Tigers, RHP Shane Greene (0-0, 0.00); Pirates, RHP Ryan Vogelsong (1-0, 4.50).
1. Ian Kinsler, 2B
2. Justin Upton, LF
3. Miguel Cabrera, 1B
4. J.D. Martinez, RF
5. Nick Castellanos, 3B
6. Jarrod Saltalamacchia, C
7. Jose Iglesias, SS
8. Anthony Gose, CF
9. Shane Greene, P
1. John Jaso, 1B
2. Andrew McCutchen, CF
3. David Freese, 3B
4. Starling Marte, LF
5. Francisco Cervelli, C
6. Gregory Polanco, RF
7. Josh Harrison, 2B
8. Jordy Mercer, SS
9. Ryan Vogelsong, P