DETROIT -- The bottom of the Detroit Tigers' lineup has been maligned for a lack of production.
It couldn't be Friday night.Ninth hitter Ramon Santiago had a two-run homer and the bottom third of the order combined to drive in five runs, helping the Tigers beat the Pittsburgh Pirates 6-2."That's why we won the game," Detroit manager Jim Leyland said.Brandon Inge and Alex Avila, two weak-hitting Tigers, each had three hits and combined to drive in three runs."It's good to see," said Inge, who has a seven-game hitting streak. "You can't rely on a couple guys all year."Detroit has been leaning on Miguel Cabrera, who was 0-for-4 against Pittsburgh, and Magglio Ordonez, who missed a fourth straight game because of an oblique strain that the team doesn't think is a serious injury.Brennan Boesch hit a solo shot in a three-run fourth inning, giving the rookie four homers in seven games and eight this season."When he hits it, it's a loud sound," Leyland said.Justin Verlander can create a pop with his fastballs, too, but many of them were not thrown for strikes against the Pirates.Verlander (7-4) got away with it, though, giving up just two runs on four hits while matching a season high with four walks in seven-plus innings."My fastball was horrible," Verlander said, crediting stellar defense behind him.Detroit center fielder Austin Jackson led the way defensively, making a pair of back-to-the-plate, underhanded catches that are starting to look routine for the speedy rookie."Unbelievable," Leyland said.Ross Ohlendorf (0-4) allowed six runs -- all with two outs -- and 10 hits in six innings."The bottom of the order just killed me, especially with two outs," he said.Both starters didn't give up a hit until the third, when Andrew McCutchen's RBI double put Pittsburgh ahead 1-0.McCutchen doubled to lead off the eighth and Neil Walker walked on four pitches, chasing Verlander. Phil Coke got Ryan Doumit to hit into a double play, and then Garrett Jones hit an RBI single to make it 6-2.Jose Valverde pitched the ninth and didn't give up a run for his 24th straight outing. Valverde did allow a one-out walk before closing the game with a fielder's choice and a strikeout.Detroit had lost four of six.The Pirates have lost six straight, one short of their season high set in late April."You can't give Justin Verlander six runs and beat him," Pittsburgh manager John Russell said.
Detroit right-hander Rick Porcello (4-6, 6.09 ERA) will have his next start skipped so he can work on his sinker. ... Ohlendorf matched career highs for earned runs and hits. ... Ndamukong Suh, who the Detroit Lions drafted No. 2 overall, threw the first pitch. ... Verlander has allowed two or fewer runs in five of his last six starts. ... Detroit's Don Kelly made a catch in the stands on the third-base line side of the park against Walker, his brother-in-law, who then returned the favor by making a sliding catch in foul territory against Kelly. ... McCutchen matched a career with two doubles. ... Avila matched a career high with three hits.