Host Tigers are able to feast on Pirates pitching in a victory
DETROIT — Travis Snider continued his late-season surge Wednesday, smacking his third home run since Andrew McCutchen went down with a rib injury.
Not much else went right for the Pirates, though, in an 8-4 loss to the Detroit Tigers.
Right-hander Vance Worley (5-2) struggled against the bottom of the lineup and yielded five runs and nine hits in 51⁄3 innings. Two of those runs were unearned because of a gaffe by fill-in second baseman Jayson Nix.
Nick Castellanos, the No. 7 hitter, broke a 4-4 tie with a solo homer in the sixth. The Tigers' bottom three batters went a combined 4 for 7 with three RBIs and three runs scored against Worley.
“That's a good-hitting ball club,” Worley said. “It's just me not making pitches when I need to.”
Reliever Stolmy Pimentel gave up three runs without getting an out in the seventh.
The Tigers took a 1-0 lead in the second on a two-out triple by Castellanos. With a runner on third base and two outs, Castellanos hit a fly ball to medium-deep center field. Starling Marte tried to make a diving catch, but the ball got under his glove and rolled toward the warning track for an RBI triple.
The Pirates tied it in the third on doubles by Josh Harrison and Russell Martin. The run-scoring hit, which caromed off the right field wall, was Martin's 1,000th career hit.
Tigers right-hander Buck Farmer made his big league debut and gave up four runs in five innings. A fifth-round pick in 2013, it was just his third start above the Single-A level.
“Early on, he was effective,” Snider said. “But later in the game, he made a couple of mistakes.”
In the fourth inning, designated hitter Pedro Alvarez, making his first start since Aug. 2, lined an 0-2 pitch into center for a single. Jordy Mercer hit an RBI double. Snider whacked a home run into the right-field seats.
In 22 games since the All-Star break, Snider has gone deep six times. That's as many homers as he hit in his first 168 games with the Pirates.
“Anytime you're seeing the ball well, it's definitely a more comfortable at-bat,” Snider said. “Throughout the season, we've had different guys step up in situations. We feed off it as a team.”
In the nine games McCutchen has been out, Snider is batting .333 (9 for 27) with three home runs and eight RBIs.
“As in life, the one thing you can count on is change,” manager Clint Hurdle said. “How you deal with it is a separator. So when change comes, we embrace it. We expect the guy who's put in to hold his own and do his job.”
Second baseman Neil Walker was out of the starting lineup for the eighth straight game because of a tight lower back. A poor decision and an even worse throw by Walker's replacement helped the Tigers tie it in the fifth.
Alex Avila led off with a long solo homer to right. Eugenio Suarez walked.
Ezequiel Carrera hit a bouncer to the right side. Nix fielded the ball as he was moving toward first base, spun around and tried to get Suarez at second. Nix's throw short-hopped shortstop Mercer and went into left field. Both runners were safe.
“I don't second-guess my players,” Hurdle said. “If he makes a good throw, the guy's out. (Nix) has played solid defense for us since he's been here. Tonight, he didn't make a play he needed to make.”
Ian Kinsler bunted the runners over. Miguel Cabrera flied out to the wall in right center to score Suarez. Victor Martinez's single scored Carrera to tie the game.
Rob Biertempfel is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at email@example.com or via Twitter @BiertempfelTrib.
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