Adding Insult To Injury
Pittsburgh, PA (SportsNetwork.com) - Starling Marte's three-run triple highlighted a five-run opening inning against Justin Verlander, and the Pirates rolled to an 11-6 victory over Detroit on a night the Tigers were knocked from their perch atop the AL Central.
Verlander was taken out after the top of the second inning due to right shoulder soreness. He will have and MRI Tuesday. Verlander has never been on the disabled list in his career and has never missed a start due to injury.
"Warming up, long tossing and then going to the bullpen, it (shoulder) didn't feel great," Verlander said. "Then it started to loosen up a little bit toward the end of my bullpen. When I got on the mound there were no sharp pains or anything. The ball wasn't coming out of my hand good at all."
For Verlander (10-11), the 2011 AL MVP and Cy Young Award winner, it was the shortest start of his career. He was charged with four hits and four earned runs, while walking two and fanning three. His ERA climbed to 4.76.
"I just didn't feel great," Verlander said. "It's disappointing. On a night the team really needed me, it was the toughest game I've ever had to watch."
Travis Snider belted a pair of homers and drove in four runs, while Russell Martin and Ike Davis smacked back-to-back home runs for the Pirates, who won for the fourth time in six games.
Rajai Davis went 3-for-5 with two RBI for the Tigers, who endured a 19-inning loss at Toronto Sunday afternoon. The Tigers have lost three in a row and are now a half-game behind Kansas City for first place in the AL Central. The Royals edged Oakland, 3-2, Monday night. Detroit had been alone in first place every day since the start of play June 21.
Jeff Locke (4-3) gave up eight hits and four runs over five-plus innings, but got the win.
Miguel Cabrera's RBI single gave the Tigers the lead in the first inning, but the Pirates sent 10 men to the plate in the bottom half and capitalized on a pair of errors. Marte tripled to the right-field corner and then came home when Snider's ground ball went under the glove of first baseman Victor Martinez. Consecutive singles from Jordy Mercer and Jayson Nix expanded the lead to 5-1.
"Our game plan was to go up there and see pitches, be aggressive within the strike zone, and try and make him (Verlander) work," Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said. "We were able to get those things accomplished."
The Pirates also displayed solid defense. In the second inning, Snider threw Alex Avila out at home when he tried to score on a lineout by Rajai Davis. Gregory Polanco nailed Rajai Davis at the plate in the eighth when he attempted to come home on Cabrera's single.
Snider smacked a two-run shot during a three-run second before the Tigers came alive in the sixth with three runs, one of them coming on an RBI double from Torii Hunter.
Jared Hughes diffused the rally after Locke allowed the first five hitters of the inning to reach base.
Kevin Whelan, who had his contract selected from Triple-A Toledo on Monday, took the mound to start the home sixth for his third major league appearance and first since 2011 with the Yankees. Martin homered to left with one out, and Ike Davis followed with a blast to right.
Rajai Davis hit a two-run double in the eighth before Snider homered to left- center in the bottom portion of the inning.
The Tigers have lost nine of their last 11 games in Pittsburgh ... It was the first of four straight meetings between the clubs. They will play in Pittsburgh Tuesday before Detroit hosts contests Wednesday night and Thursday afternoon ... Before the game, the Pirates placed reigning National League MVP Andrew McCutchen on the 15-day disabled list, retroactive to Aug. 4, due to a fractured left rib. To take McCutchen's spot on the active roster, the club recalled pitcher Casey Sadler from Triple-A Indianapolis ... Buck Farmer will make his major league debut by starting on the mound Wednesday for the Tigers. They pushed back Rick Porcello to Friday because he pitched in Sunday's game ... Verlander had won 14 straight interleague decisions.