MLB: Tigers carry momentum into brief home series with Pirates

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The Detroit Tigers had an extra day to savor their biggest offensive output of the season. After getting Memorial Day off, they’ll open a two-game home series against the Pittsburgh Pirates on Tuesday.

Detroit extended its winning streak to three games on Sunday afternoon with a wild 14-11 win over Toronto. The Tigers blew 5-0 and 8-3 leads, then rallied to score the game’s last five runs. Matt Vierling capped it off with a two-out, three-run homer in the ninth off Blue Jays closer Jordan Romano.

“There was a lot in that game to love and a few things not to love so much,” manager A.J. Hinch said. “But what an ending.”

Vierling, who had four hits, also homered earlier in the game. He was waiting on a slider and got it on a 3-2 count for his first career walkoff homer.

“My brother and I in the backyard, we’d always be doing situations like that,” he said. “It’s kind of cool when it actually happens.”

The Tigers can reach the .500 level again with a win on Tuesday. The three-game win streak was preceded by a five-game slide.

They’ll have their best arm on the mound. Tarik Skubal (6-1, 2.25 ERA) will carry a little extra motivation into the contest after taking his first loss of the season in his last start.

Skubal gave up four runs in five innings to Kansas City on Wednesday, requiring 96 pitches to get 15 outs.

“It was partly command and they had some really good at-bats,” said Skubal, who had not given up more than two earned runs in his previous seven starts. “They fouled off some really good pitches and there were too many pitcher’s counts that went to 3-2 counts. And that’s a credit, I guess, to their hitters. I’ve got to do a better job at finishing those at-bats.”

Skubal is 1-0 with a 3.46 ERA in three career appearances against Pittsburgh.

The Pirates took two of three games during a weekend series against Atlanta but lost Sunday’s finale, 8-1. Starting pitcher Martin Perez and catcher Joey Bart both departed the game early with injuries.

Pittsburgh has listed its dynamic young duo of Jared Jones and Paul Skenes as its starting pitchers in the Detroit series.

Jones (3-4, 3.05 ERA), a 22-year-old rookie, has gone at least six innings in all four of his May starts. In his last outing, he gave up three runs and six hits in six innings against San Francisco.

He allowed a two-run homer to Matt Chapman in the sixth and the Pirates wound up losing in extra innings.

“I threw the pitches I needed to throw when I needed to throw them,” Jones said. “Obviously, I need to get better at throwing certain pitches in tight spots where that could end up costing us the ballgame. I think that’s what happened. I don’t give up that home run to Chapman if I throw a better pitch, (and) we probably walk away with a win.”

Jones will be facing the Tigers for the first time.

–Field Level Media

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