PITTSBURGH (KDKA/AP) — It is a statistical fact that when the Pirates sellout PNC Park, or even come close, they perform better on the field.
Whether there’s a correlation between the two or if it’s just a fluke, fans may never know; but it held up once again Saturday night as the Pirates beat the Detroit Tigers 6-2.
There were several factors that led fans to the North Shore for the game, including Neil Walker bobblehead night, one of the first gorgeous Saturday nights we’ve seen this season and the game was not on television. Add to that, a three-game winning streak and Detroit visiting from the American League and you get another nice win in front of 38,000 people.
Kevin Correia (6-4) entered the game winless in three starts at home this season. He allowed two runs and seven hits over 6 2-3 innings, striking out four as the surging Pirates captured their season-high fourth straight win.
Correia was efficient if not dominant against the Tigers, his only hiccup came in the fourth when Detroit pushed across a pair of runs by briefly snapping out of a woeful funk.
Detroit came in mired in a 2-for-31 slump with runners in scoring position, but consecutive doubles by Andy Dirks and Miguel Cabrera helped the Tigers take a 2-0 lead.
Tigers’ starter Max Scherzer (6-1) began the night tied for the American League lead in wins and looked dominant at times. He retired 10 straight during one stretch before tiring in the sixth when the Pirates touched him up for three runs.
In the ninth, Joel Hanrahan helped the Pirates escape a two-on, no-out jam to pick up his 13th save and hand the Tigers their fifth consecutive loss.
Andrew McCutchen went 3 for 4 and scored twice for the Bucs.
An RBI single by Garrett Jones and sacrifice flies by Walker and Lyle Overbay gave the Pirates the lead. They added three more runs in the seventh, highlighted by a two-run single by Matt Diaz.
The Tigers put two men on in the seventh to chase Correia and Austin Jackson drilled a fastball from Pittsburgh reliever Jose Veras. He just hit it to straight center field, where McCutchen caught it on the warning track to end the inning.
The Tigers had one last chance in the ninth after loading the bases with no outs.
Hanrahan, however, struck out Ryan Raburn looking then got Jackson to hit into a game-ending double play to put Pittsburgh in a position to sweep an interleague series for the first time since taking three games from Cleveland in 2001.
The Pirates and Tigers finish up their three-game series on Sunday at 1:35 p.m.