Detroit Tigers manage just one hit in 3-0 loss at Pittsburgh
By WILL GRAVES
AP Sports Writer
PITTSBURGH — Trevor Williams lost out in the derby to be the Pittsburgh Pirates’ fifth starter in the spring. Banished to the bullpen for the first month of the season, he felt he needed to turn himself into a flamethrower.
When he was brought back into the rotation in early May, he tried to pitch with the same mentality. It didn’t work.
“I was trying to throw it 95, every pitch,” Williams said. “That’s not the pitcher that got me to the major leagues. I got punched in the face early.”
Now he’s punching back. Williams allowed one hit over seven dominant innings to outduel Detroit’s Justin Zimmermann as the Pirates beat the Tigers 3-0 on Monday night. Williams (5-4) struck out five and walked two, relying on his defense and a fair amount of maturity to lead Pittsburgh to a third straight victory.
“It was just old-fashioned pitching,” Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said. “It was an extremely solid, aggressive ballgame.”
James McCann provided Detroit’s only hit, a solid single leading off the third. Otherwise, Williams was firmly in control. No Tiger reached third base, thanks in part to some solid play behind Williams. Ian Kinsler hit a ball to the warning track in right field with two outs and McCann on base in the third. Pittsburgh center fielder Andrew McCutchen made a beautiful diving grab on a sinking liner by Mikie Mahtook in the sixth, and third baseman David Freese made a spinning stop on a grounder by Justin Upton in the seventh.
Williams finished with a flourish. His 107th pitch was a fastball that caught Nicholas Castellanos looking to end the seventh.
“(Williams) pitched up early, he pitched down late,” Detroit manager Brad Ausmus said. “We did square up some balls, hit some balls hard, but they seemed to go right at someone. It’s unfortunate because (Zimmermann) pitched outstanding.”
Francisco Cervelli gave the Pirates the early lead with an RBI double off Zimmermann (7-9) in the second.