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Miguel Cabrera hits, Spencer Turnbull pitches Detroit Tigers to 2-1 win at Pittsburgh

By JOHN PERRO

Associated Press

PITTSBURGH — Spencer Turnbull pitched seven strong innings and Miguel Cabrera singled home the tiebreaking run in the eighth as the Detroit Tigers edged the Pittsburgh Pirates 2-1 on Sunday to sweep the three-game series.

After the Tigers posted 17-13 and 11-5 wins at PNC Park, the finale turned into a pitching duel.

Cabrera’s single to left-center field off Richard Rodriguez (0-1) scored Jonathan Schoop, who was hit by a pitch with two outs and took second on a wild pitch.

It was the 1,702nd RBI of Cabrera’s career. He ranks 27th all-time in the major leagues.

Detroit improved to 8-5, including 5-1 on the road, a year after having the worst record in the major leagues at 47-114.

“What helps Miggy this year is we’ve got some big guys around him now and teams have to go after him a little more,” Tigers manager Ron Gardenhire said. “In big situations, I’d rather have him up there than anybody on our team.”

Turnbull (2-0) allowed only one run and five hits while striking out four and walking two. He has now won two starts in a row after losing his final 13 decisions last season as a rookie when he finished with a 3-17 record, the most losses in the majors.

Turnbull attacked the Pirates with a heavy dose of two-seam and four-seam fastballs. He also could be seen talking to himself between pitches at time, reminiscent of former Tigers pitcher Mark “The Bird” Fidrych.

“He’s very invested in the game,” catcher Austin Romine said. “He wants to be perfect. He wants to pitch a great game. When the pitchers are talking it means they are invested. Hey, certain guys are certain ways. Everyone is different.”

Said Pirates manager Derek Shelton: “Turnbull kept us on the ground all day.” Turnbull got 12 of his 21 outs came on ground balls.

Buck Farmer pitched a scoreless eighth inning and Joe Jimenez retired the side in the ninth for his fifth save.

Pittsburgh has the worst mark in the big leagues this year, falling to 3-13 with its 10th loss in 11 games.

Pirates starter Steven Brault pitched two hitless innings. He was filling in for Joe Musgrove, who was scratched from the scheduled start a day earlier because of right ankle soreness.

Brault was much better than in his relief outing Friday against the Tigers in which he failed to retire any of the six batters he faced and was charged with four runs.

The Pirates opened the scoring in the fourth inning on Erik Gonzalez’s RBI single off the glove of Schoop, the second baseman, with two outs.

The Tigers answered the run in the fifth to tie the score. Victor Reyes doubled with one out and came home on Romine’s single.

Gonzalez, Romine and Pittsburgh’s Adam Frazier each had two hits.

THE CARDINAL EFFECT

The Pirates had the opener of their three-game series with the Cardinals, which was scheduled for today at Busch Stadium, postponed while St. Louis deals with a COVID-19 outbreak.

The Tigers are scheduled to host the Cardinals in a makeup doubleheader on Thursday.