Russell Martin's walk-off single in the 11th inning gave the Pirates a 1-0 win Thursday night against the Detroit Tigers at PNC Park.
Neil Walker singled in the 11th off Luke Putkonen. Andrew McCutchen walked, and Gaby Sanchez singled to left. Third base coach Nick Leyva held Walker at third, loading the bases with no outs for Russell Martin.
Martin hit the ball to the wall in left-center field and over the head of the shallow outfield, scoring Walker.
Manager Clint Hurdle brought relief pitcher Mark Melancon in to face Miguel Cabrera and Prince Fielder in the 10th and Melancon retired the side in order.
Pinch-hitter Josh Harrison singled to lead off the bottom of the eighth. Starling Marte's sacrifice bunt put Harrison on second, but Cabrera's diving stop of a McCutchen grounder stranded Harrison.
Justin Wilson worked around Omar Infante's ninth-inning double to keep the Tigers scoreless. Martin singled in the bottom half, but nothing came of it.
Jeff Locke extended his scoreless innings streak to 19 1/3 innings after holding the Tigers without a run for 5 1/3 innings Thursday night. He walked one and struck out three.
Four consecutive hits forced Locke to throw 21 pitches in the fifth inning, but the Tigers could not send home any of their base runners.
The game ended a spectacular run of pitching against a difficult Tigers lineup. The Pirates shut out the Tigers on Tuesday behind Jeanmar Gomez's gem and a solid effort from the bullpen. They allowed three runs in a win Wednesday night.
The only Pirate that Tigers starter Doug Fister allowed on base through the first three innings was Walker, who was hit with a pitch. Fister struck out seven batters in the first three innings, including the side in the third. He finished seven scoreless innings with 12 strikeouts.
The strikeouts continued to accumulate for the Tigers, especially their starters. During the first three games of the series, the Pirates struck out 40 times, 33 of them against starters Justin Verlander, Rick Porcello and Anibal Sanchez.
Cabrera doubled for the second time in the game in the fourth inning. He hit what appeared to be a routine single to left-center, but never slowed and slid into second just ahead of McCutchen's throw. Fielder's grounder moved Cabrera to third, but Locke struck out Jhonny Peralta looking to strand Cabrera.
Home plate umpire Manny Gonzalez ejected Peralta after he argued that called third strike. Ramon Santiago took over at shortstop in the bottom of the fourth.
The Pirates didn't get a hit until the fourth, when Walker led off the bottom half by grounding up the middle. They started the inning with three consecutive singles but couldn't score.
Walker was caught stealing with McCutchen at the plate. McCutchen and Garrett Jones singled to put men on first and third, but Martin struck out and Travis Snider flied out.
The Tigers upped the ante in the fifth, singling four times without scoring a run. Matt Tuiasosopo, who led off the inning, tried to score from second on Avisail Garcia's hit, but Snider threw him out at the plate. Fister's single loaded the bases.
Omar Infante chopped the ball to Brandon Inge at third, who made a leaping catch and threw home for the force-out. Andy Dirks grounded out, and Locke had wriggled free.
Hurdle removed Locke after Locke allowed a single and a walk with one out in the sixth. Vin Mazzaro recorded the final two outs.
A walk, a sacrifice bunt and a single put runners on the corners for Cabrera in the seventh, but Mazzaro forced him to ground out and end the inning. Mazzaro pitched 1 2/3 scoreless innings.
Bill Brink: firstname.lastname@example.org and on Twitter @BrinkPG. First Published May 31, 2013 4:00 AM