DETROIT — — Michael Lorenzen had a season-high seven strikeouts in six innings, Spencer Torkelson doubled twice and the Detroit Tigers beat the slumping Pittsburgh Pirates 4-0 on Tuesday night.
Lorenzen (2-2) gave up five hits and two walks and has allowed just two runs in his last three starts. Will Vest worked two scoreless innings, with three strikeouts, and Jose Cisnero pitched the ninth.
The Pirates seemed confused by Lorenzen’s mix of pitches and he took advantage of their lack of aggression. Lorenzen labored through his start, throwing 99 pitches.
“There were a lot of takes, so I was just able to throw my fastball for a strike down in the zone,” Lorenzen said. “They were spitting on it (taking the pitch) because they assumed it was going to be a changeup. With how I felt, I didn’t think I was going to strike out that many guys.”
Torkelson scored and knocked in another run. Riley Greene had three hits.
Shut out for the second time in three games, Pittsburgh has lost 12 of 14 games while scoring just 22 runs. Luis Ortiz (0-2) allowed four runs, three earned, and seven hits in three-plus innings.
“We have to continue to have better at-bats,” Pirates manager Derek Shelton said. “Right now, we’re just not having consistent at-bats. There’s not one thing you can say that kind of opens it up. It’s just something we have to take upon ourselves to have more consistent and more competitive at-bats.”
The Tigers grabbed a 2-0 lead in the first on Javier Baez‘s run-scoring single and Torkelson’s RBI double.
“It’s definitely big to come out strong against anybody, especially against a team that’s kind of been struggling recently,” Torkelson said. “I guess we kind of felt the life come out of them. We keep the foot on the pedal and played until the last out.”
Ortiz gifted a couple of runs to Detroit in the third. Torkelson led off with another double and moved to third on Akil Baddoo‘s infield hit. Torkelson scored on Ortiz’s errant pickoff attempt of Baddoo and Baddoo came home on a wild pitch.
That was more than enough support for Lorenzen and the Detroit relievers.
“My goal is to go out and attack the zone and fill the zone,” Lorenzen said. “It makes it that much easier, knowing you have a cushion. A solo homer is not going to beat you, so you feel confident throwing strikes and letting your defense work.”
Pirates: LHP Rob Zastryzny (left elbow discomfort) will begin a rehab assignment with Triple-A Indianapolis. He has been sidelined since April 15. … RHP Vince Velazquez (right elbow inflammation) threw a bullpen session in Bradenton, Florida, on Monday. He was placed on the 15-day injured list on May 5.
Tigers: RHP Spencer Turnbull (neck discomfort) will rehab in Detroit this week. … RHP Trey Wingenter (right biceps tendinitis) played catch on Tuesday. Wingenter hasn’t pitched since April 15.
Tigers: RHP Seth Elledge was claimed off waivers from the New York Mets and assigned to Triple-A Toledo; RHP Beau Brieske (upper arm discomfort) was transferred to 60-day injured list. Elledge appeared in 11 games with St. Louis in 2021. He made eight relief appearances with Triple-A Syracuse this season.
Pirates: LHP Rich Hill (3-3, 4.35 ERA) pitches the second game of the series Wednesday. The 43-year-old Hill is 0-1 with a no-decision this month after winning his last three April starts.
Tigers: LHP Eduardo Rodriguez (4-2, 1.57 ERA) will carry a streak of 19 1/3 scoreless innings into Wednesday’s contest. Rodriguez has allowed just two runs in his last six starts.
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