Before we get to the game's pivotal moment, I should praise the work of Clint Hurdle to counteract my usual desire to bury him.

Neil Walker hit 9-for-21 on the Pirates' five-game road trip. (Photo Credit: David Hague)

Eyebrows were raised when Hurdle removed Jeanmar Gomez with 73 pitches. Gomez had retired the last eight Detroit Tigers hitters, and looked primed to keep working through the bottom of the order. But Hurdle knew Gomez's season high is 79 pitches, and opted for Justin Wilson, whose only hiccups in two innings were a Prince Fielder single and a Victor Martinez fly ball that Comerica Park would not let go over its wall.

Pulling Pedro Alvarez to use Josh Harrison as a pinch runner was curious in a scoreless game, one in which Alvarez's lineup spot could have come up agai...

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