Right-hander Justin Verlander took a no-hitter into the ninth inning against the Pittsburgh Pirates in Detroit. With one out, Josh Harrison took a 1-2 breaking ball for a single into center field to break up the no-no. Verlander went on to induce two groundouts for the complete game shutout.
The only two base runners by the Pirates in the first eight innings were Neil Walker in the first inning and Andrew McCutchen in the sixth, both reaching on walks. The right-hander struck out 12 batters over his nine frames in the Bucs 6-0 loss.
Right-hander Charlie Morton struggled with his sinker in his seventh start of the season. In the first inning. Morton allowed a one-out single to Andy Dirks before back-to-back doubles off his sinker plated two runs. The 28-year-old was able to escape the inning after getting a groundout and strikeout swinging.
Morton looked much sharper in his next two frames. After allowing a leadoff single, a double play ended the second inning, and in the third, Morton struck out two of the next three batters he faced — which included both Prince Fielder and Miguel Cabrera, who connected for the doubles off him in the first.
But two more runs scored off Morton in the fourth. On a 1-1 pitch, Delmon Young connected for a leadoff solo home run. Don Kelly picked up a RBI knock with two-outs in the frame.
Overall, Morton allowed four runs on nine hits over six innings. He walked one and struck out four while throwing 92 pitches, 62 strikes.
Karstens Set to Make Rehab Start
Right-hander Jeff Karstens continues to progress back from right shoulder inflammation, which sent him to the disabled list on April 18. Karstens threw a 20-pitch bullpen session on Wednesday while the team was in Washington. He is tentatively scheduled to make his first rehab start for Double-A Altoona on Monday.
Karstens posted a 4.50 ERA over three starts with Pittsburgh this season.
Barajas Heating Up at the Plate
Catcher Rod Barajas has gone 10-for-23 (.435) with two doubles and three home runs in his last seven games. In the Pirates 5-3 win over the Washington Nationals on Thursday Barajas recorded his first three-hit game since August 23, 2011 at St. Louis while playing for the Los Angeles Dodgers.
“You feel that you’re going to see things that you’ve seen,” Manager Clint Hurdle said. “We didn’t have any evidence to think that he wasn’t going to be able to fire back this year and help us. We knew how much he’d help us behind the plate, but we’ve expected him to be the hitter he’s been that last three or four years. Which has been a dangerous hitter, a hitter that hit’s with power, not so much the average. He can get the ball in the air. He’s hit his bottom and he’s bounced back up…His skill set as far as reaction time hasn’t been diminished any.”
McCutchen Having a Hot May
Center fielder Andrew McCutchen recorded his fifth career multi-home run game on Thursday, going deep in the first and sixth innings off Jordan Zimmermann. He has now hit safely in six straight games and at a .442 (19-for-43) clip for the month of May, which ranks third in the Majors behind St. Louis’ Rafael Furcal (.448) and David Wright of the New York Mets (.442). McCutchen is also second in the Majors in on-base percentage (.510) and third in slugging percentage (.860) and OPS (1.370) this month.