Coming into the series I thought the Pirates would be in a good place if they could win two games and split the home-and-home series. Here we are two games into the series and the Pirates already have two wins which means one thing...win the series. I talked last night about how the Pirates kind of got lucky with how the Tigers were playing and how their roster contraction was coming in and while it is debatable about how much that helped the fact of the matter is the Pirates pretty much erased the feelings of losing two straight to the Padres with a couple of really good baseball games.
Last night was more about the offense but tonight it was more of an all-around good win for the Pirates. Edison Volquez gave up a run in the first inning along with three hits but held it in check and then allowed only two more hits and another run in the next five innings. That is a great job of bouncing back after what was a pretty rough first inning but when you can win without having your best stuff then that is a good thing. Gerrit Cole is going to make another rehab start with Indianapolis so the decision on who is out of the rotation doesn't have to be made for at least another week but Volquez and Jeff Locke are pitching for that spot and they both have done a pretty decent job.
The bullpen was really outstanding. Justin Wilson has had a pretty rough year and it has been talked about a lot that he has regressed in a big way. It really sucks because he has the stuff to be a good backend left handed option but with his control problems it has really made him a tough guy to figure out. Tonight he had his stuff. He pitched a perfect seventh inning in 20 pitches and struck out a batter.
Ton Watson had one of his best outings of the second half tonight. He went up against the middle of the Tigers lineup in the eighth inning and completely dominated. Watson faced two-time American League MVP Miguel Cabrera and fell behind him 3-0 but came back with three fastballs at 95 on the outer black and got him swinging. He went all-in and completely dominated Carera after getting behind which highlighted what Watson can do when he has it. He didn't give in, just went after him with his best stuff. Love it. He's had a few rougher outing recently but in a big time spot tonight he didn't flinch. Sometimes this bullpen can be scary but it was really good tonight.
Five of the nine Pirates hits tonight went for extra bases and three of them happened in the second inning that scored a pair of runs and gave the Pirates the lead they needed. They tacked on another run in the third on a Jordy Mercer single and another on an Ike Davis double to give the pen a little leeway. Last night it was a lot of hits and a lot of runs and tonight it was a run here and there. Both resulted in wins and while you would like to score d10 runs a night sometimes getting four runs and relying on your pitching isn't that bad.
Every Pirates starter had a hit but Travis Snider, who had two hits, and Jayson Nix, who went hitless. One hit for everyone and the Pirates also drew three walks so it was a little bit from everyone in the win. That is fun.