DETROIT -- Justin Verlander was anything but vintage and the Detroit Tigers' offense couldn't overcome the hole he put them in. Despite two home runs by Nick Castellanos and J.D. Martinez, it just wasn't enough and the Tigers lost 7-4 to the Pittsburgh Pirates in the opening game of the four-game home-and-home series.
The weather was significantly warmer than in the last couple of days, but Verlander's fastball command was erratic, at best. His changeup was wonky at the worst of times. Most of his offspeed pitches were actually quite good, but his overall command just wasn't there, and it showed.
Three of the first four innings resulted in leadoff doubles, and he gave up at least one run in each of the same. Of the 10 hits he gave up, five were doubles. By the time Verlander had departed, he had dug too deep a ditch that the offense just couldn't climb out of. In all, he was accountable for all seven runs allowed.
Nick Castellanos belted a solo home run in the second, but then the Detroit bats fell silent until the fifth and sixth. Miguel Cabrera grounded into an inning-ending double play in the first, and then struck out in the fourth. It wasn't until J.D. Martinez homered in the fifth, that the offense got something going. Unfortunately it would not last, and the Tigers also suffered the loss of James McCann to an injury on an infield collision.
Nick Castellanos: Launched his first home run of the year in the second inning to right field.
J.D. Martinez: Properly destroyed his first homer of the year, too, a 403-footer to left field.
Justin Verlander: His quality start had come and gone before the fourth inning had begun. He allowed six runs on 10 hits across 4 1/3 innings, striking out just two batters.
STREAKS AND STATS:
- James McCann tallied two caught stealings on Monday. He has cut down four of five baserunners attempting to steal a base, most in Major League Baseball.
- Justin Verlander threw more than 100 pitches and failed to make it through five innings for just the second time in his career. His first occurred on Aug. 26, 2006 during his rookie season.
- In the sixth inning, the Tigers challenged a play that had initially called Cabrera out on a tag trying to advance from second to third. After a 2:07 review, the call was overturned and he was ruled safe at third. Although Cabrera appeared to go out of the baseline, jumping backward to avoid being tagged, replay umpires in New York were not allowed to consider that in their decision. It was all for nothing: The very next play, Castellanos flew out to center on a first-pitch swing.
- This was Verlander's worst start since July 19, 2015 when he gave up seven runs and eight hits across 3 2/3 innings against the Baltimore Orioles.
WIN PROBABILITY GRAPH: