This time, errors pay off for Detroit Tigers in 3-2 win over Pittsburgh Pirates in Game 1

This time, errors pay off for Detroit Tigers in 3-2 win over Pittsburgh Pirates in Game 1

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Detroit Tigers shortstop Javier Báez put the baseball in play with runners on second and third and two outs in the fifth inning.

Good things followed, but not because of Báez’s bat.

Pittsburgh Pirates third baseman Ke’Bryan Hayes failed to field the bouncer from Báez cleanly. The ball skipped past him and into left field, allowing two runs to score.

The Tigers beat the Pirates, 3-2, in Game 1 of Wednesday’s doubleheader. Detroit improved to 8-14, with Game 2 scheduled to start at 4:30 p.m.

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In the fifth inning, the Tigers had their best shot at Pittsburgh’s pitching staff. Left-handed starter Dillon Peters, an opener, gave his squad 3⅓ scoreless innings before righty reliever Bryse Wilson replaced him for the next 3⅔ innings.

Jeimer Candelario doubled to start the fifth, and Willi Castro reached safely on a fielding error by shortstop Cole Tucker. Then, Akil Baddoo drew a four-pitch walk with one out.

The double from Candelario, his fourth this season, was the Tigers’ second hit of the game and the first since Castro’s single in the second inning.

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Tigers’ Javier Baez connects for a two-run single during the fifth inning in the first game of a doubleheader against the Pirates, Wednesday, May 4, 2022, in Detroit.

Facing Wilson, Robbie Grossman produced a sacrifice fly — the Tigers’ lone RBI in Game 1 — to cut the deficit to 2-1. While Candelario scored, both Baddoo and Castro tagged up and advanced to second and third base, respectively, with two outs.

Three pitches later, Báez’s dribbler to third base bounced over Reynolds’ glove.

The Tigers finished with three runs on three hits and two walks.

Tough luck for Pineda

Right-hander Michael Pineda was charged with two runs on four hits and two walks with four strikeouts in 4⅓ innings. Both runs scored with the 33-year-old in the dugout, however.

Back-to-back one-out singles from Cole Tucker and Andrew Knapp chased Pineda, with manager A.J. Hinch calling for righty reliever Alex Lange to face left-handed hitter Ben Gamel with runners on the corners.

Gamel smacked a fifth-pitch fastball from Lange into the gap in right-center and turned on his speed to end up on third, with both runners scoring.

Pineda, in his third start this season, needed 44 pitches to complete the first and second innings. He entered Wednesday’s outing without having allowed a walk in 10 innings. But he walked two batters over the first two innings against the Pirates.

The nine-year MLB veteran, with a 5.3% walk rate for his career, settled in during the third and fourth innings. Still, his efficiency wavered at times, throwing 17 pitches in the third, 14 pitches in the fourth and 10 pitches in his one-out fifth.

Báez helped Pineda’s effort by delivering a pair of defensive gems. In the third inning, he executed a no-look, between-the-legs flip of the ball for a forceout at second. One inning later, he completed a sliding back-handed stop in shallow center field and threw out the runner at first base.

The Tigers’ defense was shifted for both highlight-reel plays.

Tigers starting pitcher Michael Pineda pitches in the first inning May 4, 2022 against the Pittsburgh Pirates at Comerica Park.

Tigers starting pitcher Michael Pineda pitches in the first inning May 4, 2022 against the Pittsburgh Pirates at Comerica Park.

For his 85 pitches (52 strikes), Pineda used 51 four-seam fastballs (60%), 20 changeups (24%) and 14 sliders (16%). He recorded eight swings and misses: three fastballs, four changeups and one slider. He also had 17 called strikes, 16 with his fastball.

Pineda averaged 90.3 mph with his fastball.

Bullpen goes to work

Lange escaped the fifth without further damage, and once the Tigers grabbed a one-run lead in the bottom of the inning, Hinch turned to a familiar set of relievers for the final 12 outs.

Right-hander Jacob Barnes pitched a scoreless sixth inning. Left-hander Andrew Chafin (seventh), righty Michael Fulmer (eight) and lefty Gregory Soto (ninth) then also blanked the Pirates over the final three innings to complete the win.

The Tigers boast MLB’s best bullpen ERA — it opened Wednesday at 1.97 and dropped to 1.87 with the 4⅔ innings against the Pirates — and Fulmer has fired 22⅓ scoreless innings in a row, dating back to 2021. Chafin, who didn’t join the Tigers until April 26, pitched in a victory for the first time this season.

Soto has four saves in 2022.

Contact Evan Petzold at epetzold@freepress.com or follow him on Twitter @EvanPetzold. Read more on the Detroit Tigers and sign up for our Tigers newsletter.

This article originally appeared on Detroit Free Press: Detroit Tigers boosted by Pirates’ errors in 3-2 win in Game 1



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