Gamel also made an outstanding catch in left field to end the top of the sixth. He slammed into the fence to take away a potential extra-base hit from Derek Hill with two runners on, preventing the Tigers from adding to their 2-1 lead.
“I kind of had a pretty good idea of where I was on the (warning) track and was fortunate to have enough room to get the ball,” Gamel said. “I play hard. If I feel I can go out and make a play, that’s what I’m going to do.”
Claimed off waivers from Cleveland on May 9, Gamel is one of the few veterans on a rebuilding team as he is in his sixth major league season.
“He fits right into our culture,” Pittsburgh manager Derek Shelton said. “He plays hard. He has an intensity to him. He plays the game exactly the way we want our culture to be. He should get a sponsorship from Red Bull. He’s got wings all the time.”
Ke’Bryan Hayes added two hits for the Pirates, who have won the first two games of the series following an 0-for-6 trip to Chicago.
Miguel Cabera went 3 for 4 with a double for the Tigers, raising his career hits total to 2,967. He needs 33 hits in the final 22 games to reach 3,000 this season. Cabrera hit his 500th career home run last month.
Detroit has lost nine of 13 games.
Pirates starter Dillon Peters was activated from the injured list prior to the game. After missing 10 days with a lower back strain, the left-hander worked four innings and gave up two runs.
Tigers starter Wily Peralta also went four innings and yielded one run. He is winless in eight starts since July 18.
Down 2-1, the Pirates loaded the bases with two outs in the sixth inning and Gamel then grounded his single off Alex Lange (0-2) into right field. The hit scored Yoshi Tsutsugo, who had singled, and Bryan Reynolds, who doubled.
“We had the opportunity to break the game open three or four times but couldn’t get the big hit then Ben got the big hit,” said Shelton, whose team stranded 14 runners.
That came on the heels of Gamel’s defensive gem.
“It was an outstanding play,” Hill said “He’s a great defender and he showed it off. It would have been a big hit for the team, but they get paid, too.”
Hill tripled in a run in the second inning and scored on Robbie Grossman’s single to put the Tigers ahead 2-1.
The Pirates’ Colin Moran had a sacrifice fly in the first inning.
The Tigers recalled right-handers Bryan Garcia and Drew Hutchison from Triple-A Toledo. Two roster spots opened following Monday’s game when right-hander Joe Jimenez was placed on the COVID-19 injured list and righty Drew Carlton was optioned to Toledo.
The Pirates optioned right-hander Shea Spitzbarth to Triple-A Indianapolis as the corresponding move for the activation of Peters.
Tigers: Jimenez and bench coach George Lombard were feeling some COVID-19 symptoms and quarantining at the team hotel after testing positive Monday for the coronavirus. The three staff members away from the team due to contact tracing drove back to Detroit on Tuesday — pitching coach Chris Fetter, quality control coach Josh Paul and bullpen catcher Jeremy Carroll.
Manning was rocked for eight runs in 3 2/3 innings in a loss to Oakland on Thursday. Keller is 1-0 in his last three starts after losing his previous four starts and seven of his last eight decisions.
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Chris Taylor became the first player in postseason history to homer three times while his team faced elimination, providing a much-needed jolt as the Dodgers beat the Braves 11-2 in Game 5 of the NLCS.
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