Pittsburgh's Phillip Evans denies Akil Baddoo, Detroit Tigers as Pirates prevail
By NOAH TRISTER
AP Baseball Writer
DETROIT — Phillip Evans reached his glove above the fence in left field, and the ball bounced off it and back into the field of play.
Not a catch — but not a home run either.
“Maybe the play of the game,” Pittsburgh manager Derek Shelton said. “He brought back a homer, and it changes the whole complexion of the game.”
Evans kept Akil Baddoo’s drive in the park in the seventh inning of a tie game, and the Pirates scored twice in the eighth to beat the Detroit Tigers 4-2 on Thursday. Colin Moran and Erik Gonzalez hit RBI singles with two outs in the eighth.
“We get two balls that aren’t hit very hard that decide the game,” Shelton said.
With the score tied at 2, Baddoo nearly put the Tigers ahead. He wound up with a double after Evans’ near-catch, but he didn’t end up scoring.
With men on first and third and one out, Sam Howard (2-1) came on and retired Robbie Grossman and Willi Castro on flyballs.
Adam Frazier had three hits for the Pirates, including a one-out single off Jose Cisnero (0-1) in the eighth. Frazier advanced on a wild pitch and scored on Moran’s single off Gregory Soto to give Pittsburgh the lead for good.
The Pirates struck out only four times in the rubber match of this three-game series.
“They put the ball in play, and that’s kind of the difference in the series,” Tigers manager A.J. Hinch said.
JaCoby Jones hit a solo homer for Detroit in the fifth.
Jose Urena allowed two runs in the first inning but held Pittsburgh scoreless for the next six. Bryan Reynolds hit an RBI single in the first, and Gonza
lez drove in the second run with a single of his own.
Baddoo hit an RBI triple in the second.