PITTSBURGH (AP) — Tarik Skubal pitched seven steady innings to win his fourth straight decision and Harold Castro hit a two-run single to lead the Detroit Tigers to a rain-delayed 5-3 victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates on Tuesday night.
After the start was pushed back more than two hours, Skubal (5-2) gave up three runs and six hits while striking out nine and walking one. The left-hander has worked a career-high seven innings in three consecutive outings and is 4-0 with a 1.60 ERA in his last seven starts.
The 25-year-old Skubal has emerged as the Tigers’ ace after compiling a 9-16 record with a 4.57 ERA in 39 games — 36 starts — over his first two major league seasons.
“Tarik Skubal is obvious a big piece of trying to push this thing forward,” Detroit manager A.J. Hinch said. “It speaks to our minor league people and our (player development) people.
“He’s learned some hard lessons over the last year and a half or so, but for a team that had a rough start to the season, the day he pitches every single time there is a different feel in the clubhouse and that is a signature of a guy who is turning into a very good major league pitcher.”
Castro’s hit, a liner up the middle, capped a three-run fourth that put the Tigers in front 4-1. Touted rookie Spencer Torkelson drove in the first run with a double.
Leadoff hitter Willi Castro, slumping Javier Baez and Tucker Barnhart all had two hits, including doubles, for Detroit. Baez raised his batting average to .205 as he struggles in the first season of a $140 million, six-year contract he signed as a free agent.
Gregory Soto pitched a perfect ninth for his 11th save in 12 opportunities.
“Gregory’s outing was so quick, I didn’t even see it,” said Skubal, who was in the clubhouse when Soto took the mound. “I went to get a…