The Pirates had a chance to sweep their three-game series with Detroit. And that’s all you need to know. They pitched badly. They hit badly. They lost, 5-1.
Mitch Keller was just bad. There’s no use trying to analyze it. He struck out six over five innings, but the rest of the time he just got hit hard. He gave up ten hits and they weren’t bleeders. The scoring started in the first with two outs. Robbie Grossman, who had four hits in the game, singled and Miguel Cabrera, who also had four hits in the game, doubled to drive Grossman in.
And it just continued on like that, with two or three hitters in nearly every inning nailing the ball. Three line singles produced a run in the third. A double play rescued Keller from two singles to start the fourth. In the fifth, a walk and three straight singles produced two more.
The Pirates meanwhile were getting shut down by whomever Detroit randomly sent out to the mound. Matt Manning, who came in with a 6.29 ERA, gave up one run. That came in the second, when Ben Gamel doubled and Kevin Newman produced that rarity of all rarities, a Pirate hit with a runner in scoring position.
In the third, with two out, Colin Moran lined a ball off Manning. That should have scored a run, as Yoshi Tsutsugo was on third and the ball rolled away and had to be chased down by the catcher. But . . . it was Moran running.
The Tigers replaced Manning in the fourth with Drew Hutchison, who’s now with his eighth organization in the last five years. And that doesn’t even count the year in independent ball. Naturally, the Pirates were helpless against Hutchison, getting just one hit in two innings, and that was wiped out by a double play.
In the sixth, Detroit went with Derek Holland, just to make the Pirates look especially foolish. Which they did, as Holland picked up a scoreless inning. As did Jose Urena, who came in with a 5.95 ERA and pitched the seventh.
The Pirates replaced Keller in the sixth with Cody Ponce, who went two innings and gave up a home run to Grossman. That lowered his ERA 31 points to 8.03. Anthony Banda threw a scoreless inning, then Luis Oviedo emerged from the closet, blinking at the unfamiliar bright lights, and threw a scoreless ninth despite some control problems. He did get Grossman out, so maybe he’ll be rewarded with a light bulb for his closet.
The Pirates went down meekly in the eighth and ninth. They managed two walks, one of which was wiped out by a double play. They went 1-for-9 with runners in scoring position. Hutchison got the win.