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Pirates break character with blowout win over Tigers

CBS SportsLine.com wire reports
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PITTSBURGH -- For one night, for one terrible inning, the Detroit Tigers looked like the team that has lost at least 90 games for five consecutive seasons, not the one that has the majors' best record.

Detroit's infield defense broke down in a seven-run Pittsburgh seventh inning started by Sean Casey's run-scoring single and the Pirates won for only the second time in 2 1/2 weeks, beating the Tigers 9-2 Saturday night.

The Tigers, coming off one of the best months in franchise history with a 20-7 record in June, played like the last-place Pirates. They had four errors in two innings and three in a span of as many batters in the seventh while ending a seven-game winning streak.

"That's the thing that's going to get noticed, but we left man on base after man on base. and didn't do anything about it," manager Jim Leyland said of a team that had won 13 of 14. "Obviously you can't hide it (the defense), it was there. But we've been playing very well, it's uncharacteristic and it happens to every ballclub. It happened to us tonight."

The Pirates, easily the NL's worst-record team, played like the Tigers with solid pitching, good defense and timely hitting to win only their second in 16 games. They have won two of three since ending a 13-game losing streak that is the franchise's longest in 116 years.

"It was nice to see us finally get some breaks," Casey said.

Casey fouled off three pitches before lining a single to left off Wilfredo Ledezma, who faced only one batter. Nate McLouth and Jose Bautista had singled off Jason Grilli (0-1).

Jason Bay then started the run of errors with a hard grounder to third baseman Brandon Inge, whose throw to the plate to try to get Bautista bounced away from catcher Ivan Rodriguez.

First baseman Chris Shelton then mishandled Freddy Sanchez's grounder as he tried to shovel a throw to pitcher Fernando Rodney covering the bag, loading the bases. Second baseman Placido Polanco made it three errors in as many batters by failing to field Jeromy Burnitz's hard grounder that took a tough hop into right field as Polanco was about to grab it, scoring two runs.

Jose Castillo added a run-scoring double and Ronny Paulino had a two-run single to finish off a seven-run inning that matched the Pirates' season high first set May 26 against Houston.

The Tigers' defense normally is one of the AL's best, ranking fourth overall coming into the game. The four errors in two innings represented nearly one-tenth their season's total of 43 in their first 80 games.

"You turn the page. That's why we're a good team. Last year, we'd have had our heads down and we'd be sitting at the chairs, but we don't do that around here anymore," Leyland said.

Pirates rookie left-hander Tom Gorzelanny made his first start of the season and second of his career, allowing 10 runners while throwing 100 pitches in five innings but escaping with only two runs allowed. Another rookie, Matt Capps (3-1), followed with two scoreless relief innings for the victory.

The Pirates' bullpen, their strength all season, has pitched 10 2-3 scoreless innings in the first two games of the three-game series.

"Some people were surprised when Matt Capps made the team," manager Jim Tracy said. "He's done a terrific job."

Shelton, the former Pirates prospect, had a run-scoring single in the third before Gorzelanny struck out three in a row to strand two. Carlos Guillen hit a sacrifice fly in the fifth but Gorzelanny again left two on, this time by getting Shelton to ground out with runners on second and third.

Gorzelanny replaced opening day starter Oliver Perez in the Pirates' rotation. Perez, sent down after losing 10 of 12 decisions, made a dazzling start at Triple-A Indianapolis by striking out 13 while giving up two runs in seven innings Saturday night against Toledo.

Tigers starter Jeremy Bonderman, unbeaten in six starts since May 29, was lifted because of tightness in his stomach after giving up two runs in five innings. Bautista had the first of his three hits, an RBI single in the third. Burnitz singled in a run an inning later.

Notes

  • Leyland said Bonderman wanted to stay in, but the manager wasn't taking any chances because the right-hander was clearly uncomfortable.
  • The Tigers enjoyed their best June since they were 20-11 in their 1968 World Series championship season.
  • The crowd of 37,111 represented only the Pirates' second sellout of the season and first since opening day, despite the supposed boost in attendance they're getting from the All-Star game.
 
Copyright 2015 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
 
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Rookie Tom Gorzelanny throws 100 pitches in five innings, but wins his first start in the majors.  (AP)
Rookie Tom Gorzelanny throws 100 pitches in five innings, but wins his first start in the majors. (AP)

Players of the Game
Pittsburgh

S. Casey
AB 4
R 2
H 3
HR 0
RBI 1
Pittsburgh

R. Paulino
AB 4
R 1
H 2
HR 0
RBI 2
 

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Detroit Tigers
Curtis Granderson, CF5010036
Placido Polanco, 2B5110001
Ivan Rodriguez, C5020012
Magglio Ordonez, RF4010012
    Alexis Gomez, RF1010000
Carlos Guillen, SS2111100
    Omar Infante, SS1000002
Marcus Thames, LF3020102
    Wil Ledezma, P0000000
    Fernando Rodney, P0000000
    Jamie Walker, P0000000
   a- Vance Wilson, PH1000002
Chris Shelton, 1B3011102
Brandon Inge, 3B4000022
Jeremy Bonderman, P2000025
   b- Ramon Santiago, PH1000000
    Jason Grilli, P0000000
    Craig Monroe, LF1010000
Totals3821123926 
a-hit into fielder's choice for Walker in the 9th
b-grounded out-bunting for Bonderman in the 6th
Batting
2B - Curtis Granderson (, Gorzelanny), Carlos Guillen (, Capps), Marcus Thames (, Gorzelanny)
SF - Carlos Guillen ()
RBI - Carlos Guillen (), Chris Shelton ()
Team LOB - 13
Fielding
DP - Inge-Polanco-Shelton, Guillen-Polanco-Shelton
E - Brandon Inge (, Wild throw), Placido Polanco 2 (, Wild throw), Chris Shelton (, Misplayed grounder)
Detroit Tigers
Jeremy Bonderman 5722150
Jason Grilli (L,-) 1.1321020
Wil Ledezma0110000
Fernando Rodney0140000
Jamie Walker 1.2100010
IBB - Casey by Jeremy Bonderman
Pitches-Strikes - Jeremy Bonderman 72-49, Jason Grilli 35-23, Wil Ledezma 8-6, Fernando Rodney 11-8, Jamie Walker 24-15
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Jeremy Bonderman 9-0, Jason Grilli 2-0, Fernando Rodney 3-0
Batters Faced - Jeremy Bonderman 22, Jason Grilli 7, Wil Ledezma 1, Fernando Rodney 4, Jamie Walker 6
Pittsburgh Pirates
Jose Bautista, CF5131001
Jack Wilson, SS5000013
Sean Casey, 1B4231100
Jason Bay, LF5100035
Freddy Sanchez, 3B4100010
Jeromy Burnitz, RF4112011
    Salomon Torres, P0000000
    John Grabow, P0000000
Jose Castillo, 2B4121021
Ronny Paulino, C4122001
Tom Gorzelanny, P0000000
   a- Mike Edwards, PH1010000
    Matt Capps, P0000000
   b- Nate McLouth, PH-RF2110001
Totals3891371813 
a-singled for Gorzelanny in the 5th
b-singled for Capps in the 7th
Batting
2B - Jose Castillo (, Rodney)
SH - Tom Gorzelanny ()
RBI - Jose Bautista (), Sean Casey (), Jeromy Burnitz 2 (), Jose Castillo (), Ronny Paulino 2 ()
2-OUT RBI - Jeromy Burnitz ()
Team LOB - 7
Fielding
E - Freddy Sanchez (, Dropped line drive)
Pittsburgh Pirates
Tom Gorzelanny 5622360
Matt Capps (W,-) 2200010
Salomon Torres 1100020
John Grabow 1200000
Pitches-Strikes - Tom Gorzelanny 100-57, Matt Capps 25-20, Salomon Torres 16-11, John Grabow 12-10
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Tom Gorzelanny 3-7, Matt Capps 2-3, Salomon Torres 1-0, John Grabow 2-1
Batters Faced - Tom Gorzelanny 25, Matt Capps 8, Salomon Torres 4, John Grabow 5
Game Information
Attendance - 37111
Game Time - 3:02
Temperature - 80
Umpires - Home - Larry Vanover, First Base - Greg Gibson, Second Base - Charlie Reliford, Third Base - Paul Nauert