PITTSBURGH -- Familiar surroundings allowed Brad Lincoln to be aggressive in his quest to remain part of Pittsburgh's starting rotation.
Lincoln allowed two hits and a run in six innings, Andrew McCutchen hit a three-run homer and the Pirates won for the sixth time in seven games with a 4-1 victory over the Detroit Tigers on Saturday.Lincoln (4-2) carried a no-hitter through five innings before Ramon Santiago singled to lead off the sixth. Moved into the rotation June 6, Lincoln had allowed 13 runs in 11 2/3 innings in three previous starts -- all on the road.Counting his time in the bullpen, Lincoln had pitched 15 1/3 scoreless innings at PNC Park this season until Miguel Cabrera led off the seventh with a home run."We did want to give him an opportunity to pitch at home," Pittsburgh manager Clint Hurdle said. "There's no place like home -- Dorothy said it a long time ago. Our pitchers have pitched well here. There's a comfort zone here, they're aggressive and attack the zone, and Brad was able to follow suit with that today."The Pirates' 2.26 home ERA leads the majors and is a big reason why they have won eight of their past nine games at PNC Park. Pittsburgh clinched its fourth home series win, their eighth win in the past nine series overall."Hopefully, we can keep the momentum going," said McCutchen, who continued a torrid pace with his 13th homer. He came into the game with 14 hits in his previous 25 at-bats."Different guys are coming through, getting on base and getting the big hits."Mired in a major North American professional sports record streak of 19 consecutive losing seasons, the Pirates (38-32) moved a season-high six games over .500.Detroit starter Max Scherzer (6-5) rejoined the team Saturday after being away the previous two days for what the team called personal reasons.Schrader Funeral Homes and Crematory outside his native St. Louis and near his residence in the city's suburbs lists confirmed they will hold a service for Max's brother Alex Scherzer. Alex Scherzer died Thursday at 24. The service is also listed on their website."I can't imagine what he must have been feeling today," Tigers catcher Alex Avila said. "I don't if there any words to explain what he's going through right now. He pitched a great game, really pitched his heart out."Through a team spokesman, Scherzer politely declined to speak with reporters. In what was a subdued postgame clubhouse, Tigers first baseman Prince Fielder talked quietly with Scherzer."Everybody knows it was under real tough conditions but I just think it's best that we make that a private topic," Detroit manager Jim Leyland said. "I really don't think it's my place to get into it."Scherzer allowed three runs, three hits and had seven strikeouts."Other than the three-run homer, I thought Max was great," Leyland said."It's tough to make only one mistake and lose a ballgame, but we're just not scoring runs right now and we haven't for the last four or five games."The Tigers were limited to one run and four hits for the second consecutive day in Pittsburgh and have scored five runs over their past four games. Detroit has lost three of four.Lincoln had a career-high seven strikeouts and one walk.At one point over a span from the fourth inning into the seventh, Lincoln threw 21 consecutive strikes. Only 19 of his 79 pitches were balls."I was able to attack the zone, throw a lot of strikes and get guys out when I needed to," Lincoln said."That pitch to Cabrera, I was not going to walk him -- I was going to go right at him mano y mano, and he got the best of me. That's how it works, but I felt good out there today."Juan Cruz relieved Lincoln and allowed Fielder's double, but lefty Tony Watson retired Avila and Jhonny Peralta to end the seventh.Jason Grilli had two strikeouts in a perfect eighth. Joel Hanrahan struck out Avila to end the game after allowing a single and a walk after two outs in the ninth. Hanrahan has 19 saves in 21 chances.Scherzer had won five of his previous six decisions, including striking out 15 Pirates batters in a 4-3 win May 20.Cabrera snapped an 0-for-15 stretch with his 15th home run off a full-count pitch in the seventh. It was Detroit's second homer in its past six games.Pittsburgh's Alex Presley had two hits. Neil Walker had an RBI single in the seventh.
The Tigers have had four hits in each of the two games so far in the series. ... The game attracted the second consecutive sellout to PNC Park, the sixth this season. ... The Pirates have not had a no-hitter since July 12, 1997, when Francisco Cordova and Ricardo Rincon combined on a 10-inning no-hitter. The most recent solo Pittsburgh no-hitter came from John Candelaria on Aug. 9, 1976. ... The most recent time Tigers RHP Justin Verlander (7-4, 2.57) faced the Pirates, he took a no-hitter into the ninth inning in Detroit May 18. He will start the series finale Sunday.