Pittsburgh at Detroit

W: J. Verlander (6-4) L: F. Liriano (3-1) S: J. Valverde (6)
HR: PIT - None   DET - None

Verlander fans 13 but just sharp enough to beat Pirates

CBSSports.com wire reports

DETROIT -- After a terrific start to the season, Francisco Liriano finally faltered against one of baseball's top lineups.

It took a few innings, but the Detroit Tigers eventually broke through against Liriano, scoring three runs in the fifth en route to a 6-5 victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates on Monday. The Pirates rallied late in the game but fell a run short against the Detroit bullpen.

"That's a great offense, and I've pitched against them a lot of times, so they know what I've got and I know what they can do," Liriano said. "I know that I've got to hit my spots and make good pitches if I don't want to get beaten up."

Justin Verlander struck out 13 in seven innings, and Jhonny Peralta had four hits for the Tigers.

Liriano (3-1) allowed four runs and eight hits in five innings.

Pittsburgh's Neil Walker tripled in the first and scored on a sacrifice fly by Andrew McCutchen. Liriano was cruising along until Prince Fielder, Victor Martinez and Peralta opened the Detroit fourth with consecutive singles to tie it at 1.

Liriano allowed no more than a run in each of his first three starts -- the Pirates had to wait for him to return after he broke his right (non-throwing) arm in a freak accident on Christmas Day.

Martinez came to the plate with two on and two out in the fifth. His double down the line bounced weirdly off the short fence in foul territory, and both runners came in to score for a 3-1 lead. Martinez then scored on Peralta's double.

Verlander (6-4) hadn't pitched more than five innings in any of his previous three starts, struggling at times with his location. But he was sharp for the most part against Pittsburgh, allowing three runs and seven hits with two walks.

Travis Snider hit an RBI triple in the seventh and Walker followed with a double to make it 4-3, but McCutchen struck out swinging on Verlander's final pitch.

The Tigers added two runs in the seventh against Jose Contreras, who retired only one batter while allowing a hit and four walks.

"We battled back against the best pitcher in the game, and then we battled back against one of the best eighth-inning men in the game," Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said. "I just didn't plan for Contreras going out there and walking four guys. We need him to pitch that inning -- we can't use the same guys every day -- and he couldn't do it. That really hurt us."

Pittsburgh third baseman Brandon Inge, who played for the Tigers for over a decade, was a late addition to the starting lineup. Outfielder Starling Marte was removed shortly before the game because of migraine-like symptoms, and the ensuing shuffling of the lineup gave Inge his first chance to play at Comerica Park as a member of the visiting team.

Inge drew plenty of cheers -- along with some boos -- when he came to bat for the first time. He went 0 for 4 with three strikeouts.

The Pirates had pulled within one in the eighth when Inge came to the plate, but pinch-runner Josh Harrison was picked off second, and Inge struck out looking against Benoit.

"We're trying to make something happen," Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said. "If you follow our team, you know that our average with runners in scoring position isn't great, so we tried to do something. You get the guy running, and maybe you open up a lane for a base hit, or you get a run on an infield hit. We were trying to push the envelope, and it didn't work out."

Jose Valverde finished for his sixth save in seven chances, striking out a swinging McCutchen with a runner on first to end it.

It was Peralta's first four-hit game since June 4, 2010, when he was playing for Cleveland. The Detroit shortstop is now hitting .341 -- 102 points higher than where he finished 2012.

"He's swinging a magic wand right now," Tigers outfielder Torii Hunter said. "He can poke the bat out and get a hit. He can swing hard and get a hit. It's a lot of fun to play the game like that."

  • Snider had three hits.
  • Verlander is 20-2 against the NL.
  • Detroit's Miguel Cabrera struck out three times and had his hitting streak snapped at 12 games.
  • It started raining around the end of the fifth, but there were no delays.
  • Pittsburgh's Jeanmar Gomez (2-0) faces Detroit's Rick Porcello (2-2) on Tuesday night.
Copyright 2017 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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Justin Verlander gets through seven innings to end an unusual run of mediocre starts.  (USATSI)
Justin Verlander gets through seven innings to end an unusual run of mediocre starts. (USATSI)

Players of the Game

J. Peralta
AB 4
R 0
H 4
HR 0

T. Snider
AB 5
R 1
H 3
HR 0

Related Video

Pittsburgh Pirates
Travis Snider, LF-RF5131020 .266
Neil Walker, 2B5121012 .246
Andrew McCutchen, CF3001122 .293
Garrett Jones, RF-1B4120011 .279
Russell Martin, C3110111 .256
Pedro Alvarez, DH4000025 .195
Gaby Sanchez, 1B4121023 .244
    Josh Harrison, PR-LF0000000 .111
Brandon Inge, 3B4000032 .227
Clint Barmes, SS3000011 .217
   a- Jordy Mercer, PH1000000 .294
a-grounded out for Barmes in the 9th
2B - Neil Walker (5, Verlander), Garrett Jones 2 (12, Verlander, Benoit), Gaby Sanchez 2 (8, Verlander, Benoit)
3B - Travis Snider (2, Verlander), Neil Walker (2, Verlander)
SF - Andrew McCutchen (2)
RBI - Travis Snider (15), Neil Walker (14), Andrew McCutchen (27), Gaby Sanchez (18)
2-OUT RBI - Travis Snider (9), Neil Walker (6)
SB - Andrew McCutchen 2 (14, 2nd base off Verlander/B. Pena, 3rd base off Verlander/B. Pena), Russell Martin (2, 2nd base off Verlander/B. Pena)
PK - Josh Harrison (1, Benoit)
Team LOB - 7
Pittsburgh Pirates
Francisco Liriano (L,3-1) 5844230 2.35
Mike Zagurski 1000110 0.00
Jose Contreras 0.1122400 9.00
Tony Watson 1.2100020 4.81
Pitches-Strikes - Francisco Liriano 90-51, Mike Zagurski 17-10, Jose Contreras 30-11, Tony Watson 22-13
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Francisco Liriano 9-3, Mike Zagurski 1-1
Batters Faced - Francisco Liriano 25, Mike Zagurski 4, Jose Contreras 6, Tony Watson 6
Detroit Tigers
Omar Infante, 2B4000123 .308
Torii Hunter, RF4120101 .314
Miguel Cabrera, 3B4100133 .377
Prince Fielder, 1B4320101 .275
Victor Martinez, DH5122003 .230
Jhonny Peralta, SS4043000 .341
Matt Tuiasosopo, LF2000101 .327
    Don Kelly, LF0000100 .191
Brayan Pena, C3001104 .313
Avisail Garcia, CF4000015 .261
2B - Torii Hunter (15, Watson), Victor Martinez (9, Liriano), Jhonny Peralta (13, Liriano)
RBI - Victor Martinez 2 (24), Jhonny Peralta 3 (24), Brayan Pena (10)
2-OUT RBI - Victor Martinez 2 (7), Jhonny Peralta (8)
Team LOB - 11
E - Prince Fielder (3, Misplayed grounder)
Detroit Tigers
Justin Verlander (W,6-4) 77332130 3.68
Joaquin Benoit (H,7) 1221010 1.64
Jose Valverde (S,6) 1100010 0.75
Pitches-Strikes - Justin Verlander 110-74, Joaquin Benoit 21-13, Jose Valverde 15-9
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Justin Verlander 5-3, Joaquin Benoit 1-1, Jose Valverde 1-1
Batters Faced - Justin Verlander 30, Joaquin Benoit 5, Jose Valverde 4
Game Information
Attendance - 41416
Game Time - 3:16
Temperature - 62
Umpires - Home - Tony Randazzo, First Base - Larry Vanover, Second Base - Wally Bell, Third Base - Manny Gonzalez