In Monday night’s series opener, Trevor Williams stole the show in a game that played out as a pitching duel between he and Tigers starter Jordan Zimmermann. The Tigers rarely threatened in the ball game against Williams, and he got his night off to a great start when he struck out Justin Upton with a high fastball, to end a 1-2-3 first inning.
The Tigers wouldn’t record their first hit against Williams, until the top of the third inning, when James McCann led off the inning with a line drive single into left field. McCann followed up his single by stealing second base, to make him the only Tigers base runner to reach second base on the night. A one out walk to Justin Upton in the fourth inning, and a lead off walk by Andrew Romine in the seventh inning, would be the only other Tigers hitters to reach base against Williams or the rest of the Pirates pitching staff. Williams did not always work ahead in the count throughout his outing, but he and Cervelli were very opportunistic in their choices for full count or 3-1 pitches. Whenever Trevor had to make a pitch, he made it. There was some hard contact throughout the outing, but with five strikeouts, the Pirates rookie starter was able to breeze through seven innings of work with only 107 pitches thrown.
The Pirates offense did not have a huge showing against Tigers starter Jordan Zimmermann, which resulted in Trevor Williams throwing each and every one of his pitches with either a 0-0 score, or having a one to nothing lead. The Pirates scored their first run in the bottom of the second inning with two outs, when Francisco drove a full count slider to right field for an RBI double that scored Gregory Polanco from first base. The Pirates would put together a couple of threats in the next four innings, but they would not get on the board again until the bottom of the seventh. A two out walk to Francisco Cervelli, issued by Zimmermann, was followed by a two-run home run off the bat of pinch hitter John Jaso. On a quiet night for the Pirates offense, their two extra base hits would combine to drive in three runs against the Tigers starting pitcher. This was all the team would need, as newly acquired George Kontos pitched a 1-2-3 eighth inning, and Juan Nicasio earned the save with a 1-2-3 ninth inning.
The win improved the Pirates to 55-57 on the season, while the loss dropped the Tigers to 51-60 on the season. The home run for Jaso was his eighth of the season, and an unexpected boost from a struggling hitter. The Pirates and Tigers complete the PNC Park half of this series, when Chad Kuhl takes the mound tomorrow night, to face off against Matt Boyd and the rest of his Tigers teammates.