<
>

Defense dooms Detroit as Pirates get needed win

PITTSBURGH (AP) -- For one night, for one terrible inning, the
Detroit Tigers looked like the team that has lost at least 90 games
for five consecutive seasons, not the one that has the majors' best
record.

Detroit's infield defense broke down in a seven-run Pittsburgh
seventh inning started by Sean Casey's run-scoring single and the
Pirates won for only the second time in 2½ weeks, beating the
Tigers 9-2 Saturday night.

The Tigers, coming off one of the best months in franchise
history with a 20-7 record in June, played like the last-place
Pirates. They had four errors in two innings and three in a span of
as many batters in the seventh while ending a seven-game winning
streak.

"That's the thing that's going to get noticed, but we left man
on base after man on base. and didn't do anything about it,"
manager Jim Leyland said of a team that had won 13 of 14.
"Obviously you can't hide it (the defense), it was there. But
we've been playing very well, it's uncharacteristic and it happens
to every ballclub. It happened to us tonight."

The Pirates, easily the NL's worst-record team, played like the
Tigers with solid pitching, good defense and timely hitting to win
only their second in 16 games. They have won two of three since
ending a 13-game losing streak that is the franchise's longest in
116 years.

"It was nice to see us finally get some breaks," Casey said.

Casey fouled off three pitches before lining a single to left
off Wilfredo Ledezma, who faced only one batter. Nate McLouth and
Jose Bautista had singled off Jason Grilli (0-1).

Jason Bay then started the run of errors with a hard grounder to
third baseman Brandon Inge, whose throw to the plate to try to get
Bautista bounced away from catcher Ivan Rodriguez.

First baseman Chris Shelton then mishandled Freddy Sanchez's
grounder as he tried to shovel a throw to pitcher Fernando Rodney
covering the bag, loading the bases. Second baseman Placido Polanco
made it three errors in as many batters by failing to field Jeromy
Burnitz's hard grounder that took a tough hop into right field as
Polanco was about to grab it, scoring two runs.

Jose Castillo added a run-scoring double and Ronny Paulino had a
two-run single to finish off a seven-run inning that matched the
Pirates' season high first set May 26 against Houston.

The Tigers' defense normally is one of the AL's best, ranking
fourth overall coming into the game. The four errors in two innings
represented nearly one-tenth their season's total of 43 in their
first 80 games.

"You turn the page. That's why we're a good team. Last year,
we'd have had our heads down and we'd be sitting at the chairs, but
we don't do that around here anymore," Leyland said.

Pirates rookie left-hander Tom Gorzelanny made his first start
of the season and second of his career, allowing 10 runners while
throwing 100 pitches in five innings but escaping with only two
runs allowed. Another rookie, Matt Capps (3-1), followed with two
scoreless relief innings for the victory.

The Pirates' bullpen, their strength all season, has pitched 10
2-3 scoreless innings in the first two games of the three-game
series.

"Some people were surprised when Matt Capps made the team,"
manager Jim Tracy said. "He's done a terrific job."

Shelton, the former Pirates prospect, had a run-scoring single
in the third before Gorzelanny struck out three in a row to strand
two. Carlos Guillen hit a sacrifice fly in the fifth but Gorzelanny
again left two on, this time by getting Shelton to ground out with
runners on second and third.

Gorzelanny replaced opening day starter Oliver Perez in the
Pirates' rotation. Perez, sent down after losing 10 of 12
decisions, made a dazzling start at Triple-A Indianapolis by
striking out 13 while giving up two runs in seven innings Saturday
night against Toledo.

Tigers starter Jeremy Bonderman, unbeaten in six starts since
May 29, was lifted because of tightness in his stomach after giving
up two runs in five innings. Bautista had the first of his three
hits, an RBI single in the third. Burnitz singled in a run an
inning later.

Game Notes
Leyland said Bonderman wanted to stay in, but the manager
wasn't taking any chances because the right-hander was clearly
uncomfortable. ... The Tigers enjoyed their best June since they
were 20-11 in their 1968 World Series championship season. ... The
crowd of 37,111 represented only the Pirates' second sellout of the
season and first since opening day, despite the supposed boost in
attendance they're getting from the All-Star game.