The game started late, but Jeanmar Gomez and Rick Porcello seemed intent on finishing it on time. The two starters fought round after round. Gomez relied on efficiency, Porcello on ground balls and strikeouts, to work a scoreless tie into extra innings after the game started 1 hour, 13 minutes late due to a rain delay. "I don't know if it was the humidity or whatever the case was for the pitchers, but both guys were moving the ball really well," Neil Walker said. Only when Walker blasted a home run, against the Detroit Tigers bullpen, did the stalemate end. The homer gave the Pirates a 1-0 win Tuesday night at Comerica Park. Walker hit the first pitch he saw from Tigers reliever Jose Ortega, a slider on the inner half of the plate, out to right field for his third home run of the season. "The guy obviously throws hard and I wanted to get ready early," Walker said. Nobody reached second base for the first seven innings. Gomez and Porcello needed 158 pitches through 14 combined innings of work. "When you got a guy working quick, keeping the defense into it and throwing a lot of strikes, it makes the game fun," Walker said. Gomez tied his career high with seven scoreless innings. He had pitched seven innings three times before in his career. The first time he did so, against the Tigers July 18, 2010, was his major league debut. Gomez allowed three hits and a walk and struck out two. Back-to-back, seven-pitch innings in the fifth and sixth kept his pitch count low. He finished with 73 pitches. "He gave us seven outstanding innings," manager Clint Hurdle said. "He pitched effectively." Porcello matched Gomez inning for inning. He pitched eight scoreless innings and struck out a career-high 11. He allowed three hits and a walk. "I'm trying to throw up zeros every time, no matter what the score is," Porcello said. "[Tuesday night] was a good ballgame, it was really a tough game on both sides and we just ended up coming up a little bit short." Jason Grilli earned his 21st save, and he did have to earn it. He protected a one-run lead in the 11th by striking out Torii Hunter, Miguel Cabrera and Prince Fielder. "You've got to attack them the same way as any other guys," Grilli said.
Walker homers in 11th inning as Pirates beat Tigers, 1-0
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette | May 29