Pirates jump on Verlander early, win slugfest
Two summers ago, Detroit Tigers right-hander Justin Verlander nearly no-hit the Pirates. Josh Harrison broke it up with a slap single in the ninth inning.
Harrison didn't wait that long Monday night, hitting a single on Verlander's sixth pitch of the game.
The Pirates didn't stop there. They jumped on Verlander for five runs in the first inning and routed the Tigers, 11-6.
“It was a welcome sight,” manager Clint Hurdle said. “We were facing an elite pitcher, one run down, our game plan was to see pitches, be aggressive in the strike zone and try to make him work. We were able to get those things accomplished.”
Verlander lasted just one inning, the shortest outing of his nine-year career.
Playing without Andrew McCutchen, who was placed on the 15-day disabled list before the game, the Pirates banged out 14 hits.
“It shows they don't need me,” McCutchen said with a chuckle. “It's the truth. It's not like I'm out, so the season's over. The season is not over. We've got guys who can step up and get the job done.”
Travis Snider hit a pair of home runs: a two-run homer in the second inning and a solo shot in the eighth. He wound up a triple shy of the cycle.
Russell Martin and Ike Davis each smacked a solo homer. Starling Marte lined a three-run triple.
“Cutch is missed, first and foremost,” Snider said. “But we understand that, to help this team win, we've all got to fulfill our roles, whether you're a starter or a bench guy.”
The Pirates moved into second place in the NL Central, 2 1⁄2 games behind the Milwaukee Brewers. The Tigers dropped into second in the AL Central, a half-game behind the surging Kansas City Royals.
It's the fourth time this season the Pirates scored at least eight runs in a game against an American League team.
Left-hander Jeff Locke (4-3) weathered some turbulence to win his second straight decision. He went five-plus innings and allowed four runs on eight hits.
“Inconsistent command,” Locke said. “Missing some spots.”
Locke gave up a run and two hits in the first inning. In the second, he walked the first two batters on nine pitches. With runners on second and third with one out, Rajai Davis flied out to left field. Snider's perfect throw got Alex Avila at the plate for a double play.
“A momentum-changer,” Hurdle said.
In the sixth, Locke faced five batters without getting an out. Jared Hughes took over with the bases loaded and kept the game in check.
“The big word for me is just focus, focus, focus,” Hughes said. “If I can just focus and not overthrow it, hopefully, I can get ahead in the count.”
Throwing a heavy dose of offspeed pitches, Verlander (10-11) lurched through a 40-pitch inning. He then left the game because of right shoulder soreness. After the game, Verlander said he expected to get an MRI exam.
“This was the toughest game I've ever had to watch,” Verlander said. “Warming up, it didn't feel great. There were no sharp pains or anything, but the ball wasn't coming out of my hand good at all. I was throwing 88, 90 mph.”
Verlander lost for the first time in his past 15 decisions against National League clubs. In 33 interleague starts, his record is 25-3.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Pirates can’t overcome long rain delay, Indians in interleague setback
- Pirates notebook: Taillon headed for surgery, Richard traded
- Gameday: Pirates vs. Indians, July 4, 2015
- Shaken by economic, political turmoil, MLB forsaking Venezuela
- Gameday: Pirates vs. Indians, July 3, 2015
- Liriano, Pirates complete sweep of Tigers
- Long toss is considered valuable tool for MLB pitchers’ arm health