April 8 – It didn’t take long for the Pittsburgh Pirates to develop into a confident group.

The Pirates will look to carry the momentum of coming off consecutive come-from-behind victories into the opener of a two-game series with the visiting Detroit Tigers on Monday evening.

After falling 5-2 to Baltimore on Friday, Pittsburgh got back at the Orioles in dramatic fashion. The Pirates prevailed 5-4 in 11 innings on Saturday before scoring the tying and go-ahead runs with two outs in the bottom of the ninth for a 3-2 win on Sunday.

“It does a lot for our confidence,” Pirates left-hander Marco Gonzales said of the walk-off wins. “Especially as a pitcher, knowing that our offense is gonna come through swinging. … I think we’re playing loose right now and just having fun.

“I think no one really here is under too much stress. I think we’re all just enjoying the process right now.”

Right-hander Mitch Keller (0-1, 6.55 ERA) hopes to help Pittsburgh continue its winning ways when he makes his third start of the season on Monday.

In his latest outing, Keller gave up five runs (four earned) on eight hits in 5 1/3 innings in a 5-3 loss to the Washington Nationals on Wednesday.

Keller has made four career starts against Detroit, going 0-1 with a 3.86 ERA.

The Tigers had reason to be upbeat, too, after opening the season with five straight wins. But they have since dropped three of their past four contests, most recently falling twice during a three-game set with the Oakland Athletics over the weekend.

Things got especially ugly on Sunday when Detroit went 0-for-6 with runners in scoring position in a 7-1 loss to the Athletics.

Offense also was hard to come by in Saturday’s 4-0 setback, as the Tigers had just five hits, three of which were singles.

“We couldn’t get continuous stress or pressure on (the Athletics) really the entire day,” Detroit manager A.J. Hinch said. “Eighth inning’s really late to get anything going, especially as they extended their lead.”

The Tigers’ lineup will try to wake up in time to support right-hander Reese Olson (0-0, 0.00), who is scheduled to take the mound for the second time this season.

Olson logged 5 2/3 scoreless innings against the New York Mets last Monday. He gave up just three hits but settled for a no-decision in a game Detroit won 5-0 in 10 innings.

Monday’s series opener against the Pirates will mark Olson’s first career appearance against them.

Even though the Tigers have been struggling lately, the club has big expectations for the 2024 season. First baseman Spencer Torkelson feels like the city of Detroit will have something to cheer about come the dog days of summer.

“I love this fan base. They’re itching for a winner,” Torkelson said. “They’ve got it in the Lions. The Red Wings are close. I truly believe we’re really close, as well. Hang with us. It’s a long season, but I like where we’re at.”

Pittsburgh played the Tigers four times last season, with each team winning twice.

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