Pittsburgh, PA (Sports Network) – Lyle Overbay belted a solo home run that started a six-run sixth inning as the Pittsburgh Pirates powered past the Detroit Tigers, 10-1, to start a three-game series between the two interleague rivals.
Neil Walker drove in career-high five runs that included a three-run homer for the Pirates, who have won three straight. Garrett Jones brought in two runs in the win.
Pittsburgh starter Jeff Karstens (3-2) threw six solid innings, surrendering just one run on three hits and walked none.
Ramon Santiago’s home run was the only offense for Detroit, which has dropped four straight since reeling off seven consecutive wins.
Tigers starter Brad Penny (4-4) had a three-start win streak snapped, allowing five runs on six hits and five walks in 5 2/3 innings.
“We lost and we have to get back to work tomorrow,” Penny said. “We got to get out there and play hard.”
The first hit of the game didn’t come until the bottom of the fourth when Jose Tabata ripped a comebacker that deflected off of Penny’s foot. Four batters later, he scored on Ryan Doumit’s two-out single up the middle to claim a 1-0 lead for the Pirates.
Karstens retired the first 14 batters he faced, but worked a full count against Andy Dirks, who took a low pitch into shallow center field to break up the perfect game in the fifth inning.
“When it comes down to it, I’m just trying to win the ballgame. It was a little premature and I wish I had a couple extra gears like (Detroit’s Justin) Verlander,” Karstens said
Santiago evened up the game in the sixth with one swing, sending the ball into the right field seats for his first homer of the season.
But the Buccos regained the lead during the home half with Overbay’s leadoff shot over the wall in dead center. The home team added another run when Brandon Wood scored as the Tigers tried to turn a a double play on a Matt Diaz grounder and the throw to first was off target.
Penny was yanked with runners on first and second, and Brayan Villarreal, who hadn’t pitched in 10 days, came in to surrender back-to-back two-run doubles to Jones and Walker to blow the game open, 7-1.
Walker added a three-run shot in eighth inning to make up for the final score.
Detroit swept Pittsburgh last June…Tigers skipper Jim Leyland managed the Pirates from 1986-96. Other current Detroit staff, Gene Lamont (1997-2000) and Lloyd McClendon (2001-2005), were also at the helm for the Bucs…Pittsburgh improved to 53-84 in interleague play…The Tigers dropped to 134-114… Detroit’s Austin Jackson had a hit to extend his hitting streak to 12 games.