Tigers, Pirates ready for rematch after slugfest

MLB

The Detroit Tigers had an unexpected layoff, and it seemed to energize their offense.

Detroit pulled out a wild 17-13 win over the host Pittsburgh Pirates on Friday in the first game of a weekend series. The Tigers will look to keep their offense firing in the middle game of the three-game series on Saturday.

A handful of their players had multi-hit games and five of them also knocked in multiple runs, paced by leadoff hitter Niko Goodrum, who finished with five RBIs.

Detroit was playing its first game of the week. Its four-game series with St. Louis was postponed due to the Cardinals’ coronavirus outbreak.

The Tigers couldn’t hold a late five-run lead, but their offense, which hadn’t produced more than seven runs in the first 10 games of the season, bailed them out. Pittsburgh lost for the eighth time in nine games despite Erik Gonzalez’s career-high six RBIs.

“Guys were into it in the dugout, and we came up with some big hits when we had to,” Tigers manager Ron Gardenhire said. “We gave up some big runs — our bullpen faltered a little bit. It was a crazy one. The ball was flying around pretty good out there, and all you can do is keep going at it.”

Both managers taxed their bullpens, using eight pitchers apiece.

Detroit right-hander Ivan Nova will face his former team for the first time on Saturday.

Nova pitched for the Pirates from 2016-18.

He has made 31 career starts at PNC Park, posting a 13-8 record with a 2.75 ERA. Nova (0-0, 4.22 ERA), who pitched for the Chicago White Sox last season, has made two starts for the Tigers. In his last outing on July 30, he gave up two runs on eight hits in 5 2/3 innings against Kansas City.

Veteran left-hander Derek Holland (0-0, 4.76 ERA) will start for the Pirates. He has pitched 5 2/3 innings in each of his starts this season but does not have a decision.

In his last outing at Minnesota on Monday, he gave up just two singles in the first five innings. A couple of walks and a misplayed fly ball in the sixth marred his outing, as he ended up allowing four runs.

Holland was generally pleased afterward with the way his team performed before dropping a 5-4 decision.

“They have a strong team over there, and for us to be right in it, have the lead for most of the game, it just goes to show that we have it,” Holland said. “It’s just a matter of executing. We’ve got to finish it off. That’s the big thing.”

The Pirates signed Holland to a minor league deal on the last day of January. He earned a spot in the rotation during camp after seeing action in 51 games, eight as a starter, while pitching for the San Francisco Giants and the Chicago Cubs last season.

“My goal is to be a starter and a closer at the same time,” Holland said. “I treat it like a boxing match. These are my nine rounds. I need to go out there and make sure I win each round.”

Holland is 1-2 with a 4.26 ERA in seven career starts against Detroit.

–Field Level Media

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