Simon struggles, Chamberlain hit hard as Tigers lose to Pirates again 9-3



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DETROIT — For the second night in a row, Joba Chamberlain got booed by his home fans Wednesday.

He can't blame them.

Detroit's set-up man allowed an inherited runner to score a key run in Tuesday's 14-inning loss to the Pirates, then allowed three homers in the eighth inning as Pittsburgh won 9-3 on Wednesday.

"I can't be mad, I would have booed me too," said the Tigers' set-up man, who has an 18.00 ERA in his last six outings, having allowed four homers in four innings.

In those six games, opponents are hitting .478 against him with a 1.130 slugging percentage.

"It's frustrating, but there is no discouragement," he said. "My fastball is 95 to 97, which is right where it needs to be. I feel great. I just need better execution of my pitches."

Neil Walker hit one of the homers off Chamberlain, finishing off an outstanding Wednesday.

Walker drove in the winning run of Pittsburgh's 14-inning win over the Tigers in the early moments of the morning, then went 4-for-6 with a pair of homers as the Pirates won 9-3 less than 24 hours later.

"We've got a day game (Thursday), so there's not much I can do tonight," he said. "But you certainly celebrate a day like this in your mind."

Walker came into the game hitting .259 with four homers, numbers that he hated seeing on scoreboards.

"I'm not a huge home-run guy, and I know that," he said. "But my job is to be a big part of our offense and produce runs, and I haven't been doing that. Maybe this will get something started."

The Pirates finished with 21 hits, their most since May 13, 2004 in Colorado.

"We did a great job of managing our at-bats today," said Pirates manager Clint Hurdle. "Walk started us this morning, and it kept going all night."

A.J. Burnett (7-3) got the easy win, giving up two runs on seven hits in seven innings. He struck out four and didn't walk a batter.

"When you get that many runs, you just want to get ahead in the count," said Burnett, who threw first-pitch strikes to 24 of the 29 batters he faced. "It's a lot easier pitching from 0-1."

Alfredo Simon (7-5) took the loss, allowing six runs on a career-high 15 hits in 5 2-3 innings. The 15 hits were the most allowed by a Tigers starter since Scott Sanders allowed 16 on April 14, 1998.

"He didn't have his command, and he was scuffling to get outs," said Tigers manager Brad Ausmus. "The silver lining is that he gave us some innings on a day when we really needed innings."

Detroit took the lead on Nick Castellanos' RBI single in the second, thanks to the Pirates leaving three runners on in the first two innings, but they broke through in a big way in the third.

Josh Harrison started the inning with a single, and Walker followed with a homer just inside the right-field foul pole. Andrew McCutchen followed with a single, and Pedro Alvarez moved him to third with a one-out double.

McCutchen scored on Francisco Cervelli's groundout, Alvarez came home on Gregory Polanco's RBI single, and after a wild pitch, Jose Iglesias's throwing error allowed Polanco to score Pittsburgh's fifth run.

"Simon's a good pitcher, and he had done a nice job getting out of a couple jams, but we finally got to him in a big way," Hurdle said. "It was one of those things where once you break through, it just starts rolling."

Simon was pulled after giving up his 15th hit, but Walker made it 6-1 by scoring on Al Alburquerque's wild pitch. The Tigers got a run back in the bottom of the sixth on Yoenis Cespedes' RBI groundout.

Walker, Starling Marte and Alvarez homered off Chamberlain in the eighth to make it 9-2. James McCann homered in the bottom of the ninth to finish the scoring.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Tigers: C Alex Avila is hitting .313 in five rehab games with Triple-A Toledo and caught most of Wednesday's loss to Durham. Avila could rejoin the Tigers as soon as this weekend and is expected to share time with McCann.

UP NEXT

The teams finish the three-game series Thursday afternoon, with Detroit's Kyle Ryan (1-1, 4.56) facing Francisco Liriano (4-6, 3.21). Ryan warmed up briefly during Tuesday night's marathon, but the Tigers didn't end up needing him. Liriano has faced the Tigers 26 times, including 19 starts, but is 1-9 in his last 14 appearances.

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