DETROIT (AP) — Felipe Rivero rebounded from a terrible season opener by working double duty for the Pittsburgh Pirates.
The left-handed closer saved both games of Sunday’s doubleheader, helping the Pirates complete a sweep of their three-game series against the Detroit Tigers with victories of 1-0 and 8-6 on Sunday. Rivero struck out the side in the first game, then held off a Detroit rally in the nightcap.
Rivero allowed four runs in Friday’s opener , which Pittsburgh went on to win in 13 innings. Manager Clint Hurdle showed little hesitation going back to him Sunday in both games.
“We want to use him to close games — games we’ve got the lead, when those opportunities present themselves,” Hurdle said. “We had an opportunity to do it in the first game. Obviously, we had an opportunity to come back and do it in the second game.”
Trevor Williams pitched six no-hit innings in Sunday’s first game, then the Pirates won the nightcap behind homers from Josh Harrison, Starling Marte and David Freese.
Miguel Cabrera homered for Detroit in the second game.
Rivero struck out the side in the ninth to end the opener and got the final three outs of the nightcap after coming in with a man on second and an 8-5 lead.
“Would have preferred not to, but once we got to that point, he’s our guy,” Hurdle said. “There’s no use putting him in in a tighter spot. He had some wiggle room.”
It was a disappointing opening series for the Tigers, who thought they’d won Friday before a replay review took away the winning run in the 10th.
“I don’t want to get in trouble, but we actually won one game already,” said Detroit manager Ron Gardenhire, who was ejected Friday. “We really did win that game. I don’t care what anybody says. It’s three tough days of baseball because of the weather, but our guys are playing and they’re excited. We should be 1-2.”
Chad Kuhl (1-0) allowed four runs and eight hits in 5 2/3 innings in the night game. Detroit starter Ryan Carpenter lasted three innings in his major league debut, yielding three runs and five hits.
Harrison hit a two-run homer in the third — it looked initially like he’d have to settle for a double when the ball bounced back into play, but the call was changed to a home run after a review on his flyball to the left-field corner. Marte added a solo shot one out later to give the Pirates a 3-2 lead.
It was 3-all before Pittsburgh scored five runs in the fifth. Buck Farmer (0-1) allowed a sacrifice fly by Jordy Mercer, then another run came home on a wild pitch. Francisco Cervelli added an RBI single, then Freese connected for a two-run shot to left.
Williams (1-0) was pulled with a no-hitter in progress after six innings in the first game. He threw 84 pitches, his count boosted by five walks, and was replaced by Michael Feliz to start the seventh.
“I was playing Russian roulette all day with the walks, so I totally understood the move,” Williams said. “It was 1-0 when I came out and it ended up 1-0, so it worked perfectly.”
Nicholas Castellanos quickly ended the no-hit bid with a one-out double off Feliz. George Kontos pitched the eighth and Rivero finished the combined two-hitter.
Michael Fulmer (0-1) gave up one run, four hits and two walks in eight innings, striking out three.
Gregory Polanco’s RBI double gave the Pirates a 1-0 lead in the first, and that held up as the game’s only run.
The doubleheader was scheduled after a rainout Saturday. Attendance was 14,858 for the first game and 18,438 for the nightcap.
Pirates: RHP Joe Musgrove, who has dealt with shoulder trouble, threw 92 pitches in a Gulf Coast League game Saturday and is expected to join the Pirates’ rotation in the next week.
Tigers: LF Victor Reyes left the second game with a right forearm laceration after he went diving after a shallow fly and accidentally took SS Jose Iglesias’ legs out from under him. Iglesias held on for the third out of the fifth inning but appeared frustrated, flinging the ball all the way over the fence in left. The game marked Reyes’ major league debut. His injury required stitches. … RHP Mike Fiers (back) is scheduled to throw a simulated game Monday at Detroit’s extended spring training facility and could come off the disabled list later in the week.
RIVERO VERSUS CABRERA
Rivero went to a 2-0 count on Cabrera to start the ninth inning of the first game, but got three straight swinging strikes on fastballs.
“I was behind in the count, so he knew I was going to be throwing fastballs,” Rivero said. “He just couldn’t catch up with them.”
Cabrera hit an RBI double off Rivero in the second game.
Carpenter was recalled from Triple-A Toledo to be the 26th man during the doubleheader. The Tigers returned him to the minors afterward.
“I didn’t have my best stuff, by any means,” Carpenter said. “But obviously, it was awesome to get out there and get my debut. It’s something I’m very thankful for.”
Pittsburgh has a quick turnaround for its home opener Monday against Minnesota. Jameson Taillon (8-7, 4.44 ERA last season) starts for the Pirates against Lance Lynn (11-8, 3.43).
Francisco Liriano (6-7, 5.66) makes his Tigers debut Monday against Kansas City’s Jason Hammel (8-13, 5.29).
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