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Apr 9, 2024 3:07 am

Surprising Pirates seek two-game sweep of Tigers

bryan reynolds

The Pittsburgh Pirates will turn to veteran left-hander Martin Perez as they try to complete a two-game series sweep of the visiting Detroit Tigers on Tuesday afternoon.

Perez (1-0, 2.45 ERA), who went 10-4 with a 4.45 ERA last season while helping pitch the Texas Rangers to their first World Series crown, will be making his third start with the Pirates. He comes in off a 7-4 win at Washington on Thursday during which he allowed two runs on six hits over 6 2/3 innings. He walked two and struck out six.

Perez is just 2-5 with a 6.13 ERA in 13 career appearances (12 starts) against Detroit.

He will be opposed by right-hander Casey Mize (0-0, 6.23 ERA), who will be making his first career appearance against Pittsburgh. In his season debut on Thursday, Mize was tagged for three runs on five hits in 4 1/3 innings by the New York Mets. He fanned four and walked two.

Pittsburgh is 9-2 after its first 11 games of the season for the first time since 1992 and owns the best record in the National League after winning the series opener 7-4 on Monday.

The Pirates banged out 12 hits in the victory, including a pair by Bryan Reynolds, who became the 25th player to hit 100 career home runs with the club. Reynolds smacked a 412-foot solo blast deep into the left field bleachers in the sixth inning to make it 7-2.

“I knew where I was at for a while, and I really wanted to get it out of the way,” Reynolds said of the 100-homer milestone. “And to get it out of the way at home is great. And it was a good one, too, so I’ll take it.”

Reynolds had gone hitless in his 16 previous at-bats before the homer.

“He had better at-bats (Monday),” Pittsburgh manager Derek Shelton said. “I think it was inevitable that he was going to get to 100. It was just a matter of seeing better swings (Monday).”

Detroit started the season with five straight wins but is just 1-4 since and brings a three-game losing streak into the Tuesday contest. The Tigers have managed just 21 hits during the three-game skid while getting outscored 18-5, including 11-1 in two home games against the woeful Oakland A’s.

“We’re playing hard,” Tigers manager A.J. Hinch said. “I know when you don’t hit early there’s a little lull and it’s tough sometimes, but our guys will figure it out. Our guys will warm up soon enough. We played a better game (Monday) than we have, but it still wasn’t good enough. Quick turnaround (Tuesday) with a day game. We’ll be ready.”

Detroit right fielder Matt Vierling, who is hitting just .238, went 2-for-4 with an RBI and a run in the loss.

“Sometimes you might try to do too much (when you fall behind),” Vierling said. “It’s early in the year. We’ll figure it out.

“It’s kind of like we got off to such a good start and these last three games are like a reality check. And now you’ve got to get it in gear again. … We’re looking to change things (Tuesday).”

–Field Level Media

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