Russell Martin drove in the game’s only run with a bases-loaded single in the bottom of the 11th innings at PNC Park in Pittsburgh on Thursday night, and for the second time in three evenings the Pittsburgh Pirates posted a 1-0, 11-inning victory over the Detroit Tigers.
Neil Walker’s home run in the top of the 11th frame had provided a Pittsburgh victory in Detroit on Tuesday night.
Walker and Gaby Sanchez sandwiched singles around a walk to Andrew McCutchen before Martin’s winning shot. Martin had struck out in his first three at-bats before finishing the game with a pair of hits.
Thursday’s victory was the fourth 1-0 win in eleven games for the Pirates (34-20), who now hold the Major League lead with nine shutouts this season. The Bucs have won 16 of their last 20 games, and hold the second-best record in baseball as they trail the St. Louis Cardinals by a game-and-a-half in the National League Central Division.
Both teams posted nine hits, including two each by Martin and Walker, and by Detroit’s Miguel Cabrera and Omar Infante. Detroit (29-23) stranded eleven runners on base as they watched Cleveland inch toward a half-game of their lead in the American League Central Division.
The Pirates won despite 13 strikeouts. Tigers starter Doug Fister fanned twelve batters while pitching a four-hit shutout through seven innings. The Pirates’ Bryan Morris (3-2; 3.06 ERA), who pitched the eleventh inning, earned a win for the second straight night. Luke Putkonen (1-1; 1.69 ERA) took the loss.
Over the weekend, the Pirates will host a three-game series with the Cincinnati Reds, who were tied with the Bucs until a loss to the Indians on Thursday. In Friday night’s series opener, Wandy Rodriguez (6-2; 3.58 ERA) will start for Pittsburgh against the Reds’ Johnny Cueto (2-0; 2.76 ERA).