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Tigers 17, Pirates 13: Detroit offense unloads in shootout win

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The Tigers scored 16 (!) runs against Pittsburgh’s bullpen in a wild win.

MLB: Detroit Tigers at Pittsburgh Pirates Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

No baseball for a few days? No problem! The Detroit Tigers scored a week’s worth of runs in a wild 17-13 win over the Pittsburgh Pirates on Friday evening at PNC Park. The game was Detroit’s first since Sunday following the cancellation — postponement? delay? who knows? — of their midweek series against the St. Louis Cardinals.

I’m not entirely sure where to start with this one. Matthew Boyd was knocked around for the third time in as many starts, this time to the tune of seven runs on eight hits in just 4 23 innings. The Pirates took an early lead against Boyd in the second, when Erik Gonzalez drove a two-run single through the infield with one out. Boyd danced out of further trouble in that frame, but Gonzalez put the Bucs further in front with a two-run homer in the fourth, his first of the season.

Things went absolutely bananas from there. The Tigers stormed back with four runs in the top of the fifth — three of them via walks with the bases loaded — to take the lead. The Pirates quickly moved back in front in the bottom of the frame when Phillip Evans hit a three-run homer, the first of his career, ending Boyd’s night. After John Schreiber recorded the final out in the fifth, JaCoby Jones brought the Tigers within one with an RBI double in the sixth to continue his MVP bid.

You think we’re kidding.

With the score at 7-6 — we think, math is hard — Schreiber retired the side in order in the bottom of the inning, setting the stage for even more chaos in the seventh. After the Tigers put two runners on base to lead off the inning, Pirates manager Derek Shelton was ejected for arguing balls and strikes. Specifically, this strike, called a ball.

This is only really noteworthy because Tigers legend Don Kelly took over as Pirates manager afterward. Kelly’s managerial debut did not go well, however, because his bullpen proceeded to allow six runs in the inning, giving the Tigers a 12-7 lead at the seventh inning stretch. If you’re interested in the specifics, Christin Stewart, Jeimer Candelario, Victor Reyes, and Niko Goodrum drove in runs after speedsters Miguel Cabrera and C.J. Cron set the table for the big inning.

The game was far from over, however, thanks to Detroit’s bullpen. Gregory Soto threw a scoreless seventh, continuing his scoreless streak to open the year, but Buck Farmer and Joe Jimenez combined to allow five runs in the eighth and ninth — you don’t want to know the specifics here — setting the stage for even more chaos in extra innings.

The two teams traded runs in the 10th inning. Pittsburgh nearly added a second to walk it off after putting two runners on, but Colin Moran grounded out to end the inning. The Tigers then plated four runs in the 11th with an assist from the Pirates’ shoddy defense. First, catcher John Ryan Murphy missed wildly on a throw down to second, allowing Victor Reyes to move from first to third on a steal attempt. Following an Austin Romine single and a Jones walk, Niko Goodrum’s fly ball eluded outfielder Cole Tucker — it would have been a tough play, but it seemed like Tucker could have caught it — for a two-run double, pushing Detroit’s lead to 17-13. The extra runs didn’t mean much in the end, however, as Carson Fulmer worked a 1-2-3 11th to close out the win.

With the victory, the Tigers moved to 6-5 on the season. They are currently in third place in the AL Central, 2 12 games behind the Minnesota Twins.