Pirates Sweep Doubleheader, Series In Detroit

Chris Mack
April 01, 2018 - 11:11 pm

Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

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Break out the brooms.

Perhaps you can use them for the snow that may be on your sidewalk when you wake up Monday morning.

The Pirates used theirs to sweep a doubleheader against the Tigers and their season opening series in Detroit, and will go into their home opener at PNC Park 3-0 or better for the first time since 1983 when they went into their Three Rivers opener that year 5-0.

Not a bad weekend for a team that had to work around a bullpen meltdown Friday afternoon, a fair amount of rain, and temperatures in the 30s most of the weekend.

It certainly helps when, two days after a 13-10, extra inning victory, a ball club shows it can win a pitcher’s duel as well.

Trevor Williams walked five in six innings in the first half of the twinbill, but didn’t give up a single hit. It’s the 4th scoreless start of six innings or more in Williams’ last 10, with an ERA of 2.97 in that timeframe.

Asked if he was disappointed he had to leave in the midst of a no-hitter, Williams admitted his command had put him in a few tough spots.

"I totally understand. We played with fire a lot. It's a 1-0 ballgame. We need(ed) to get this win. If we were up by a few more runs, then I could understand going back out there and seeing what I could do, but I felt like I did my job, and we have a shutdown bullpen that are able to secure a win for us."

This time the back end bullpen combo of Michael Feliz, George Kontos, and Felipe Rivero was 'shutdown,' setting down 9 of the 12 hitters they faced, punctuated by Rivero’s 1-2-3 9th inning, striking out the heart of the Tigers’ order in Miguel Cabrera, Nick Castellanos, and Victor Martinez.

In the second of Easter Sunday’s two contests, the Bashin’ Bucs came out to play again, torturing Detroit’s pitching staff – statistically the worst in baseball a year ago – with a pair of home runs off of spot starter Ryan Carpenter in his major league debut. The lefty was taken deep by Starling Marte and, in a replay-reviewed drive down the left field line by Josh Harrison.

Putting up 22 runs in three games may have been a survival tactic for Bucco batters, said Harrison.

"I think it was one of those things that we found out that if we hit it on the barrel, our hands didn't hurt," Harrison joked after his 3-for-5, 2 RBI performance Sunday night.

David Freese capped a 5-run rally in the 5th with a two-run shot off of reliever Buck Farmer, and a different bullpen combination of Edgar Santana and Tyler Glasnow, came on for 2 1/3 scoreless innings. After Dovydas Neverausakas gave up a pair of hits to open the bottom of the 9th, Rivero was called on again, and responded by sandwiching a pair of strikeouts around a Cabrera double, and put a bow on the sweep with fly out to right field by Niko Goodrum.

Glasnow was given the opportunity many fans have clamored for since his struggles at the Major League level began in the fall of 2016, throwing two innings  of scoreless relief, hitting 96-98 mph on the radar gun with his fastball and showing a fall-off-the-table curve ball that buckled the knees of Cabrera before he was able to draw a walk.

The Pirates’ home opener will start at 1:05pm Monday afternoon, and the team is urging those who want to catch the pomp and circumstance of pregame introductions and first pitches being thrown out by Chip Ganassi and Elroy Face to be in their seats by 12:30.

Face, a 3-time All Star and 1960 World Series Champion, will be celebrating his 90th birthday.