Hill baffles Tigers for six innings as Pirates collect 8-0 victory
DETROIT (AP) — Rich Hill gave up one hit in six innings, Austin Hedges drove in three runs and the Pittsburgh Pirates rolled to an 8-0 victory over the Detroit Tigers on Wednesday.
The 43-year-old Hill (4-3), the oldest active player in the majors, gave up an infield single to Matt Vierling and two walks while striking out seven. A trio of relievers completed the shutout as Pittsburgh won for just the third time in 15 games.
“All the credit goes to (catcher Hedges) and the game he called,” Hill said. “I just followed his lead and executed pitches. That was it. I always talk about how the ball comes out of my hand. Today certainly was a day that it came out the way I wanted it to.”
Hill recorded 56 strikes on 84 pitches.
“It was a start we needed against an all right-handed lineup with some good hitters,” Pirates manager Derek Shelton said. “I thought it was his best curveball he’s had all year. It kept them off-balance and he did a good job executing his fastball to both sides. He got some funky swings today.”
Vierling’s hit proved to be all the Tigers could muster as their batters struck out 14 times.
In contrast, the Pirates had their highest scoring output since piling up 16 runs against Washington on April 29. They scored only 22 runs in their previous 14 games.
“That was a game we needed offensively,” Shelton said.
Rodolfo Castro homered and knocked in two runs, while Bryan Reynolds contributed three hits and scored two runs.
Tigers starter Eduardo Rodríguez, who had allowed just two runs in his previous six starts, gave up four runs and six hits in five innings.
“He just wasn’t sharp,” Detroit manager A.J. Hinch said. “He didn’t really locate his fastball. They came out and ambushed him pretty well and won some at-bats.”
Hinch was ejected for the first time this season during the fourth inning. He was tossed by home plate umpire Nic Lentz for arguing balls and strikes.
Hedges ended Rodríguez’s streak of 21 scoreless innings with a two-run double in the second, which glanced off the glove of the center fielder Vierling.
Castro gave Pittsburgh a 3-0 lead in the fourth with his fifth homer. The Pirates extended their lead on Andrew McCutchen’s RBI single in the fifth.
Pittsburgh tacked on four more runs in the seventh.
Miguel Cabrera was the Tigers’ starting designated hitter for the second consecutive game and went 0 for 3. Cabrera is batting .182 with no home runs while appearing in 22 games.
Hinch admits he’s struggled to balance the team’s needs while giving Cabrera, who is retiring after the season, playing time.
“I feel for him,” Hinch said. “At the same time, he’s getting older and not quite the same hitter as he was in his prime. I’m asking him to play less and creating more timing issues for him.”
Pirates: 1B Ji Man Choi (strained left Achilles) has begun light baseball activities after shedding his walking boot. He’s expected to return next month. … LHP Rob Zastryzny (left elbow discomfort) threw an inning of scoreless relief for Triple-A Indianapolis on Tuesday as he began a rehab assignment.
Pirates: RHP Johan Oviedo (2-3, 5.14 ERA) will start the opener of a three-game home series against Arizona on Friday. Oviedo is 0-2 with two no-decisions in his last four outings.
Tigers: LHP Matthew Boyd (2-3, 6.47 ERA) will look to bounce back from his worst outing this season when he starts the opener of a three-game series at Washington on Friday. Boyd gave up six runs, five earned, in 1 1/3 innings against Seattle last Friday.
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