|Pirates try for second series win over Tigers|
The Pittsburgh Pirates will look to get back to winning a series when they host the Detroit Tigers on Thursday at PNC Park.
The Pirates (13-11) broke a five-game losing streak Wednesday when they won the second game of a doubleheader 8-3. They dropped the opener 13-10, but manager Clint Hurdle predicted his club produced enough offense in the loss to get a boost for the second game.
"Some guys, I believe, were able to pick up some confidence from the way we were able to swing the bat in game one," Hurdle said.
Before the Pirates lost two recent series in a row, including being swept in four games at Philadelphia last weekend, they had won or split their first five series.
Detroit (10-12) has won six of its past nine games and can avoid losing both interleague series with Pittsburgh this season with a win Thursday. The Pirates opened the season with a three-game sweep in Detroit.
Right-hander Michael Fulmer (1-2, 3.47 ERA) is scheduled to start the series finale for Detroit against Pittsburgh right-hander Ivan Nova (2-1, 4.20).
Fulmer's only career start against Pittsburgh came during that season-opening series, in the first game of a doubleheader. He was on the losing end of a 1-0 game despite giving up the run and four hits in eight innings, with two walks and three strikeouts.
The game's only run came in the first when Fulmer issued one of his two walks and Gregory Polanco followed with an RBI liner.
"It's just tough," Fulmer said. "You get out there and you're amped up the first inning, I felt like I was hitting my spots well and just got that walk and then left a front-door sinker with too much of the plate and Gregory Polanco hit it down the line. But other than that, everything was good."
In his last time out, Fulmer recorded his second quality start but did not get a decision when he allowed two runs and eight hits, with one walk and four strikeouts, in seven innings Friday against Kansas City.
It was again the first game of a doubleheader that Detroit won in extra innings, and Fulmer had to put forth some effort to fulfill manager Ron Gardenhire's request to get deep into the game and preserve the bullpen.
"I think I was breathing out of the wrong eyelid the last two innings I threw," Fulmer joked, according to the Tigers website. "But that's baseball. They did a good job of hitting mistakes I threw, stringing some hits together.
"I still don't think that I had my best stuff, especially for all seven innings. I felt the best I have in a while, but I think if I get two or three balls down in the zone, I think everything will start clicking again."
Nova is 2-0 in his past three starts but, like Fulmer, is coming off a strong outing with a no-decision to show for it because of a lack of run support.
Nova gave up one run in six innings Friday at Philadelphia in what became a 2-1 Pittsburgh loss. The run scored on a fielder's choice.
In that game, his changeup confounded the Phillies.
"I think it was the biggest pitch of the night," Nova said. "I had a good feel for it. I didn't have the curveball working (early), but that was the one I felt comfortable throwing."