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Williams walks tightrope with 6 hitless innings

Combined no-hit bid ends in 7th; right-hander shows fortitude, Hurdle says
MLB.com @adamdberry

DETROIT -- Pirates manager Clint Hurdle didn't have to talk Trevor Williams off the mound Sunday afternoon at Comerica Park. Six innings into a wild no-hit bid in Pittsburgh's eventual 1-0 win over the Tigers, Williams understood his day was over.

"It's tough, but I was playing Russian roulette. It was only a matter of time," Williams said. "I couldn't keep walking guys and getting out of jams."

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DETROIT -- Pirates manager Clint Hurdle didn't have to talk Trevor Williams off the mound Sunday afternoon at Comerica Park. Six innings into a wild no-hit bid in Pittsburgh's eventual 1-0 win over the Tigers, Williams understood his day was over.

"It's tough, but I was playing Russian roulette. It was only a matter of time," Williams said. "I couldn't keep walking guys and getting out of jams."

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But Williams effectively walked that tightrope for six innings and 85 pitches to outduel Michael Fulmer in the first half of the Bucs' doubleheader against the Tigers. Williams walked a career-high five batters. He threw more balls (43) than strikes (42). He had only one run of support: Gregory Polanco's RBI double in the first inning.

Video: PIT@DET: Williams' dad interviewed during son's no-no

While Williams did not show his typical command, his array of fastballs, sinkers and changeups yielded only four balls hit out of the infield: two flyouts to left field by Leonys Martin, Mikie Mahtook's line drive to center field in the fifth and Dixon Machado's flyout to center in the sixth.

"He threw the ball well. He was kind of effectively wild," Tigers catcher John Hicks said. "He'd throw a couple balls and then, boom, he was in the zone."

When he wasn't navigating his way out of jams by inducing softly hit outs, his defense was helping him out. The Pirates turned two double plays, and catcher Francisco Cervelli caught Mahtook stealing second base in the third inning.

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"Trevor was in a fistfight all day long," Hurdle said. "The pitch efficiency wasn't that bad. There were just way too many walks. But he showed a lot of fortitude on the mound."

But there was no fight in the dugout. The Pirates warmed up Edgar Santana in the fifth and Dovydas Neverauskas in the sixth. When Williams finished his sixth hitless inning still holding a one-run lead, Hurdle shook his hand and called upon right-hander Michael Feliz to pitch the seventh inning. Hurdle said the Pirates did not consider sending Williams back out in pursuit of the no-hitter.

"He wasn't going to get through nine," Hurdle said. "It wasn't an option today for him. I hope he gets one one time, but no. There are probably other people that were thinking more about it than we were. We're trying to be realists down here. Second game of the season with a guy at that point, with five walks, that's a lot to try to take on. You're really thinking more about one individual than you probably are the bigger picture. Later in the season? Who knows."

Video: PIT@DET: Pirates lose team no-hitter in the 7th

Feliz promptly gave up a one-out double to Nicholas Castellanos, ending the no-hit bid, then retired the next two Detroit batters. George Kontos pitched a scoreless eighth, and closer Felipe Rivero struck out the side to seal the shutout.

"He made the right decision," Williams said. "It's a one-to-nothing ballgame, and we have a shutdown bullpen. We need to get a W."

MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Polanco puts Pirates on board: Fulmer fell behind on each of Pittsburgh's first seven batters, including a walk to Adam Frazier to open the game. The one hitter to really take advantage was Polanco, who swung at a 1-0 fastball and poked a double down the right-field line and into the corner to score Frazier easily. Polanco -- who also hit the game-winning home run in Pittsburgh's Opening Day victory -- was thrown out trying to advance to third base, but the lead stood.

Video: PIT@DET: Polanco smacks an RBI double in the 1st

Kontos ends threat in eighth: The Tigers mounted a two-out rally in the eighth for the heart of their order. Machado lined an 0-2 pitch back up the middle before Leonys Martin drew a walk from Kontos, putting the potential go-ahead run on base for Jeimer Candelario. With Cabrera on deck, Kontos put Candelario in an 0-2 count before inducing a soft grounder to second to end the threat and carry the lead to Rivero.

Video: PIT@DET: Kontos gets Candelario to end the 8th

QUOTABLE
"You know when he extends the hand, that's it. That kind of weight off your shoulders, it's over. I played with fire today. It's like, we can't keep playing with fire."-- Williams, on exiting after six innings

"We've never lost a shutout."--Hurdle, grinning, on the victory

SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
This was the first hitless appearance of Williams' career. He held the Tigers to one hit and two walks while striking out five over seven innings on Aug. 7 last season

The Pirates walked six batters overall, the highest total in a shutout since May 17, 2015, against the Cubs.

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Adam Berry has covered the Pirates for MLB.com since 2015. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook and read his blog.

Pittsburgh Pirates, Michael Feliz, Trevor Williams