DETROIT — After losing their first 30 games this season when they trailed after seven innings, the Detroit Tigers finally rallied for a win Sunday against the Chicago White Sox.
On Tuesday night, they had several chances to do it again, this time against the Pittsburgh Pirates, but came up short.
The Tigers trailed 4-2 until J.D. Martinez's two-run homer in the eighth inning, but couldn't find another run before losing 5-4 in 14 innings.
"We just couldn't get anything going at all," Tigers manager Brad Ausmus said. "We finally got something going in the 14th, but we didn't get the big hit."
The Pirates took the lead in the 14th despite a massive base-running mistake. With one out and a runner on first, Josh Harrison doubled, but Gorkys Hernandez retreated, thinking Rajai Davis had made a diving catch.
After being urged on by Harrison, Hernandez then broke for third, but didn't retouch second, and was out on appeal.
"That was a mess," said Alex Wilson, who pitched 3 1/3 scoreless innings in relief. "It was hard to tell what was even happening."
Neil Walker, though, followed with an RBI double off Tom Gorzelanny (1-2) to make it 5-4.
Deolis Guerra (1-0) then pitched a third scoreless inning of relief for his first career win.
The Venezuelan had to face two countrymen to finish it. Miguel Cabrera singled to move Ian Kinsler to second with one out, but Victor Martinez hit into a game-ending double play.
"Those are my heroes," Guerra said. "Miguel has always been one of my favorite players, and it was an honor to even face him tonight."
Detroit trailed 4-2 in the bottom of the eighth, but J.D. Martinez hit his 11th homer of the month off Tony Watson to tie the game.
Neither starter figured in the decision. Justin Verlander allowed three runs in 6-plus innings, while Gerrit Cole gave up two runs in 6 1-3 innings.
Verlander struggled badly through the first four innings, allowing six hits, four walks and a hit batter, but the Tigers only trailed 3-0 as Pittsburgh left eight runners on base.
"We just knew we needed to keep getting baserunners and get more of them in," Pittsburgh manager Clint Hurdle said. "We had to be more productive in those at-bats."
Verlander has a 5.09 ERA in his first three starts of the season — he missed the first 2-plus months with a triceps injury — and has allowed 27 baserunners in 17 2/3 innings.
Ausmus, though, thought he saw a silver lining in Verlander's finish.
"I thought he was much better in the last three innings," he said. "He was too fine early, then started attacking hitters."
Gregory Polanco's sacrifice fly gave the Pirates a 1-0 lead in the second, and they added two more runs in the third on an error by Cabrera at first base and a sacrifice fly by Jordy Mercer.
Detroit nearly tied the game in the bottom of the fifth, but after a 4:03 replay review, James McCann's fly ball off the top of the fence in right field was ruled an RBI double instead of a 3-run homer. One run did score on the play, leaving runners on second and third with no outs, but Cole retired the next three hitters without allowing either runner to score.
Kinsler's RBI double made it 3-2 in the seventh, and brought Jared Hughes out of the bullpen. Hughes retired Cabrera on a broken-bat grounder. Andrew McCutchen gave the Pirates a two-run lead in the eighth with an RBI single off Joba Chamberlain.
Pirates: OF Corey Hart, who has been sidelined since June 22 with a left shoulder injury, began a rehab assignment Tuesday with Triple-A Indianapolis.
Tigers: C Alex Avila played his fourth rehab game with Triple-A Toledo. Avila has been out since May 8 with a knee problem, and while he served as the Mud Hens DH on Tuesday, he is expected to catch on Wednesday.
Michigan football coach Jim Harbaugh threw out the first pitch, with Ausmus catching a high fastball. Harbaugh grew up as a Tigers fan and said he would be cheering for Detroit during the game, even though he was sitting in seats provided by Pirates manager and Michigan fan Clint Hurdle.
The teams play the second of the three-game series Wednesday night, with Detroit's Alfredo Simon (7-4, 3.57) facing Pittsburgh's A.J. Burnett (6-3, 2.01). Burnett is 6-3 in 12 career starts against the Tigers, although he lost to Detroit on April 14. In his last two starts, Simon has allowed 12 runs, 14 hits and six walks over nine innings.