PITTSBURGH (AP) — Nicholas Castellanos trotted home when a potential double play in the eighth turned into an RBI fielder’s choice thanks to some indecisiveness by Pittsburgh second baseman Adam Frazier, allowing the Detroit Tigers to edge the Pirates 5-4 on Tuesday night.
The Tigers loaded the bases off Kyle Crick (2-3) with one out when Brandon Dixon hit a grounder that rolled under Crick’s glove right to Frazier. Instead of flipping to shortstop Kevin Newman in hopes of turning an inning-ending double play, Frazier tried to tag Detroit’s Christin Stewart between first and second. Stewart backed off to avoid the tag, breaking up the play and forcing for Frazier to settle for one out instead of two.
Detroit’s shaky bullpen made it stand up, barely. Buck Farmer (4-4) earned the win despite giving up Newman’s tying RBI triple in the seventh. Joe Jiménez survived a bases-loaded jam in the eighth. Shane Greene earned his American League-leading 21st save by getting Josh Bell to hit into a game-ending double play as the Tigers snapped a four-game losing streak.
Miguel Cabrera had two hits in his first start at first base since May 31 as Detroit beat the Pirates for just the second time in their last 10 meetings.
Bell hit his 20th home run for Pittsburgh. Jung Ho Kang hit an RBI triple — his first three-base hit since 2015 — and Colin Moran added Pittsburgh’s major-league leading 101st pinch hit on an RBI single in the seventh, but the Pirates couldn’t overcome a series of miscues while falling to 4-12 in June.
Pittsburgh committed three errors, a number that didn’t include Frazier’s indecisiveness in the eighth.
Moran’s single and Newman’s shot to the right-field corner that extended his hitting streak to 10 games allowed the Pirates to pull even at 4-4 in the seventh, before Crick ran into trouble in the eighth.
Castellanos walked with one out, Cabrera followed with a single and Stewart loaded the bases when a Crick pitch grazed Stewart’s right foot.
Pirates starter Mitch Keller — who’d been knocked around in each of his first two career starts — took a modest step forward in his third. The team’s top-ranked prospect allowed four runs (two earned) in five innings with two walks and six strikeouts. His outing might have been cleaner if not for a sloppy fourth inning, when his throwing error to first on a sacrifice bunt by Harold Castro and Kang’s inability to come up with a sharp grounder by John Hicks allowed the Tigers to take a 4-2 lead.
Detroit’s Daniel Norris put together his best start in nearly a month, giving up only Bell’s home run to center in the second and Kang’s RBI triple in the sixth. Norris struck out four and walked one and was in line to pick up his first victory since May 12 before the bullpen let it slip away in the seventh.
Pirates: RHP Jordan Lyles (left-hamstring tightness) threw a four-inning simulated game on Tuesday. … C Francisco Cervelli (concussion-like symptoms) is with the team and has begun light baseball activities but remains out indefinitely. .. RHP Chris Stratton (right-side discomfort) was activated off the injured list. To make room for Stratton the Pirates sent reliever Yefry Ramirez back to Triple-A Indianapolis.
Tigers: Expect Jordan Zimmerman (0-4, 5.93 ERA) to make his first start since April 25 after recovering from a strained right elbow.
Pirates: Trevor Williams (2-1, 3.33 ERA) returns from a monthlong stay on the injured list with a strained right side when he makes his 10th start of the season on Wednesday. Williams is 2-0 with a 0.95 ERA in three starts against Detroit.