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.
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.
- 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.