If you’re one of the people who sat through the entire Pittsburgh Pirates-Detroit Tigers game on Thursday, you have all of my sympathy.
The game, won 13-10 by Pittsburgh in 13 agonizing innings, was a complete disaster and a half.
Detroit blew leads of 2-0 and 6-4. Not to be outdone, Pittsburgh blew leads of 4-2 and, in the ninth inning, 10-6. Their final lead of 13-10 would hold up.
The two teams combined for 13 walks and 19 strikeouts, along with five errors. Pittsburgh used eight pitchers, while Detroit used “just” seven, with each team leaving one reliever in their bullpen along with the rest of their starters. Those 15 pitchers threw a total of 466 pitches. Because this game was in an American League park, the benches were barely used – the Tigers used a pinch runner in the seventh inning, and the Pirates didn’t use one substitute.
Incredibly, “only” 19 men were left on base between the two teams despite the 31 total hits. The teams went 15/37 with runners in scoring position, which is far from disastrous.
In the eighth inning, home plate umpire Mike Everitt was hit in the mask with a pitch, and he had to leave the game. This was the most serious part of anything that happened at Comerica Park on Friday.
A walkoff single by JaCoby Jones of the Tigers (a former Pirate farmhand, traded to Detroit in 2015 for Joakim Soria, who was the seventh inning pinch runner in question) was overturned on replay review. That review led to the ejection of Tigers manager Ron Gardenhire.
The starters actually pitched pretty well! Ivan Nova gave up two runs on six hits in five inning (walking three and striking out four), while Jordan Zimmermann allowed four runs on six hits in six innings, punching out eight and allowing just one free pass.
The game would finally end in the 13th after a three-run homer by Gregory Polanco in the top half of the frame off of Alex Wilson, who threw a career high 65 pitches. Oddly enough, he threw 56 pitches, his previous career high, against the Pirates in 2015.
All but two position players involved in the game had hits – Tigers DH Victor Martinez went 0/4, and was the player Jones replaced in the seventh. Pirates third baseman Colin Moran, one of the players that came back in the lambasted Gerrit Cole trade this winter, went 0/6. Speaking of the Cole trade, Michael Feliz also came over in the deal, and he allowed four runs without recording an out on Friday.
Final game time: five hours and 27 minutes. Hell yeah, baseball.