PITTSBURGH — Trevor Williams’ major-league career isn’t all that old, but he turned in a career-best performance Monday night against the Detroit Tigers.
Williams threw seven innings of one-hit, shutout ball as the Pirates beat the Tigers, 3-0.
He faced just two batters over the minimum, as he allowed two walks to go along with the one hit, but he and Francisco Cervelli erased Justin Upton in the fourth inning with a caught stealing.
The longest shutout performance of his major-league career before Monday was three innings of relief last September. The fewest number of hits he’d allowed in a major-league start had been three at the beginning of July. The seven innings pitched equaled a career high and he set a new mark with 107 pitches thrown.
Williams did it all with the thinnest of margins. The Pirates took a 1-0 lead in the second inning on Cervelli’s RBI double that plated Gregory Polanco, but the offense was unable to do any further damage against Tigers starter Jordan Zimmerman until after Williams left the game.
More from Williams on his career night:
HE SAID IT
“It was just old-fashioned pitching tonight. Old-fashioned, really good pitching tonight. He was less than 50 percent first-pitch strikes, he had eight three-ball counts. It only turned it to walks. Only six guys retired on three pitches or less, so a lot of guys went and stood up there for four of five pitches. So they got looks at him. He mixed in the slider, the curveball, the changeup and the two-seamer was so good tonight. The four-seam fastball was in at the hands. He pitched an extremely solid, solid, aggressive ballgame.”
— Pirates manager Clint Hurdle on Williams’ strong outing.
GAME IN GRAPHS
***John Jaso provided some insurance in the seventh inning with a two-run, pinch-hit home run that scored Cervelli. Jaso caught a hanging curveball from Zimmerman and sent it 412 feet into right-center field. The home run was Jaso’s eighth of the season and his third pinch-hit home run this year. It was also his second hit in four at-bats after snapping an 0 for 34 streak on Aug 2.
“He was probably trying to get it down around my back foot somewhere,” Jaso said. “We’re all human. We make mistakes. I don’t mind that.”
***After being claimed on waivers from San Francisco on Saturday, George Kontos reported to the team on Monday and made his Pirates debut by pitching a perfect eighth inning.
“I’ve been with Kontos since 2006,” Cervelli said. “We played in all the minor leagues. This guy is not a power pitcher. He’s always been the same. When he’s on the mound, he looks so confident, especially with the slider. He played on a team where he went to the World Series, so he knows how to do it. I think it’s going to be an amazing thing for us.”
***Williams’ one-hitter was helped along by a few solid plays from the Pirates’ defense. Sean Rodriguez made a diving play up on a ball up the middle in the second inning, Andrew McCutchen laid out for a fly ball in the right-center gap in the fifth and David Freese picked a one-hopper at third and made a spinning throw to get the lead runner at second base in the seventh. Williams credited the defensive effort for keeping the basepaths clean. The Tigers had men aboard in just three of his seven innings.
“It’s fun turning around, especially seeing Sean Rod back there making a great play,” Williams said. “It’s fun seeing Cutch in center field running. We made some great plays tonight. We had some guys in the right spots on certain ground balls. It’s fun. You keep the ball on the ground and the guys behind me know that I’m not really a big strikeout guy. There’s going to be some action. So guys are on their toes.”