Michael Fulmer and Ivan Nova both shined on the mound in an interleague pitchers’ duel, but the Tigers’ bullpen flinched first, as the Pittsburgh Pirates won the rain-shortened series in Pittsburgh by a score of 1-0.
This was a quick game that was dominated by pitching, as neither team scored until the ninth inning. Unfortunately, Pirates outfielder Corey Dickerson hit a walk-off solo home run off of Alex Wilson to put the game away, wasting a brilliant effort by Michael Fulmer, Daniel Stumpf, and Joe Jimenez. Wilson has now allowed three game-winning home runs this season, including a go-ahead home runs by Gregory Polanco in the 13th inning of the Tigers’ opening day 13-10 loss to the Pirates and by Roberto Perez in the 8th inning of a 2-1 loss to the Indians on April 10.
The Tigers got off to a quick start, as Leonys Martin tripled to open the game. Unfortunately, Dixon Machado, Miguel Cabrera, and Nicholas Castellanos all grounded out, as Ivan Nova stranded the threat. The only other threat Nova ran into was in the top of the sixth, when Leonys Martin reached on an error and Dixon Machado singled. With runners on the corner, however, Miguel Cabrera grounded into a double play. In the seventh, Nova gave up a double to James McCann with two outs—extending his hitting streak to eight games—but Victor Reyes lined out on the very next pitch to end the threat. Overall, Nova was extremely efficient. He finished the game going eight scoreless innings, allowing only six hits and striking out five on 93 pitches.
Michael Fulmer found himself in trouble in the first inning as well. He too was able to recover and find his groove. After striking out Adam Frazier to open the game, he surrendered a line drive double to Gregory Polanco. Thankfully, he struck out Starling Marte and induced a ground out from Josh Bell to end the inning. From there, Michael Fulmer cruised, touching 97 MPH on his two-seam fastball as early as the second inning and hitting 87-89 MPH on his slider and changeup as he struck out Pirate after Pirate. He finished the day going six strong innings on 99 pitches, allowing four hits, one walk, and striking out nine.
The Tigers best chance to pull the game out came in the ninth inning, when Pirates closer Felipe Vazquez entered the game and immediately loaded the bases, allowing singles to Miguel Cabrera and Nicholas Castellanos and a walk to Niko Goodrum. Vazquez wiggled out of the bases-loaded jam by forcing pinch runner Jeimer Candelario into a force out at home on a James McCann groundball, Victor Martinez into a pop out, and finally, got Jose Iglesias to ground out, ending the threat.
Well earned rest for Jeimer Candelario
Rising star third baseman Jeimer Candelario did not start today’s game with a sore left wrist, as Gardenhire erred on the side of caution after Candelario struggled slightly with wrist pain during yesterday’s doubleheader. However, he did pinch-run for Miguel Cabrera in the top of the ninth inning. Candelario went 4-for-10 in yesterday’s two games, including a single, double, and homerun in game one and a triple in game two. Today was Candelario’s first game off this season. He has batted .290 this season with a .359 on-base percentage, four home runs, and a well-above average .390 wOBA mark, good for 32nd in all of baseball (and just behind star infielders Robinson Cano and Jose Ramirez).
Tweet of the Game
Alex Wilson has allowed 4 home runs this season.— Austin Drake (@austin_drake) April 26, 2018
3/30 Polanco go-ahead in 13th
4/10 Perez go-ahead in 8th
4/22 Almonte go-ahead in 6th
4/26 Dickerson walkoff
Who was the Tigers’ player of the game?
This poll is closed
Michael Fulmer (6 IP, 4 H, 1 BB, 9 K)
Leonys Martin (2-4)
Niko Goodrum (1-3, 1 BB)
Daniel Stumpf (1 IP, 0 H, 0 BB, 0 K)