Originally posted on Raise the Jolly Roger!  |  Last updated 5/20/12

The Pirates had a great chance to steal a victory today in Detroit, but a mess of a seventh inning quickly put them on the wrong end of the series.

The story of the game was Max Scherzer, who completely blew away Pirate hitters all afternoon. Scherzer threatened the all-time Tigers record for a starting pitcher, as he struck out FIFTEEN Bucs in seven innings (the record is sixteen). That’s nothing new for the Pirates, of course. Scherzer came in with a high ERA but has always been a big strikeout threat, and we all know how frequently the Bucs strike out.

The bizarre thing was that the Pirates had a chance to defeat Scherzer anyway. Rod Barajas and Neil Walker homered off him, and Kevin Correia delivered six strong innings, yielding only a solo shot. Correia struck out just two and benefited from Comerica Park’s spacious outfield, but he deserves credit for allowing just two hits and no walks through six. With no pinch-hit situation to worry about, Clint Hurdle sent him back out for the seventh.

That’s when things went wrong. Prince Fielder led off with a bloop to left that Clint Barmes kicked into foul territory, allowing Fielder to take second. (Somehow, it was ruled a double.) Delmon Young quickly singled him home, tying the game and chasing Correia. Tony Watson came on and got an out, but then walked a man. Then Barajas went out to talk to him, and on the VERY NEXT PITCH Barajas was crossed up for a passed ball, moving the runners to 2nd and 3rd. Unacceptable DIRECTLY AFTER A MOUND VISIT.

Rod Barajas said he changed up the signs prior to Watson fastball, then forgot about it. Said passed ball was all his fault. #Pirates

— Michael Sanserino (@msanserino) May 20, 2012

Alex Avila then hit a very weak grounder that normally would have been a perfect DP ball one minute earlier, but it snuck through the drawn in infield for a 2-run single. 4-2 Tigers just like that.

The Pirates had a chance in the eighth when they put two men on base, but Pedro Alvarez continued his rough series by whiffing against lefty specialist Phil Coke. In the ninth, Josh Harrison doubled and came around on a Barajas sac fly, but Nate McLouth struck out to end the game. I have no idea why McLouth continues to get at bats.

Very frustrating loss for the Pirates, but they really didn’t deserve to win with such a horrid offensive performance (minus the bombs by Barajas and Walker). They struck out 17 times on the afternoon, giving them a ridiculous 41 K’s for the 3-game series.

Tigers 4, Pirates 3 / Box / 2012 Record: 19-22 / Next: Monday, vs. Mets, 7:05

MVP: Barmes (+.083) / LVP: Watson (-.236) / Key play: Walker’s HR

©2012 Raise the Jolly Roger. All Rights Reserved.

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