(SportsNetwork.com) - Shane Greene tries to follow up a brilliant season debut on Tuesday when the Detroit Tigers play the middle test of a three-game series with the Pittsburgh Pirates.
Even with a 3 1/2-hour rain delay Greene was marvelous against the Minnesota Twins on Thursday, tossing eight innings with an unearned run on four hits. He also struck out five and picked up the win in his first start for the Tigers.
"I was just trying to throw strikes," Greene said. "Once they put up those three runs, I was just trying to get out there and get back in the dugout as fast as possible."
Greene, acquired this winter from the New York Yankees, faced the Pirates in Spring Training and gave up three runs, two earned, over 3 2/3 innings.
Pittsburgh, meanwhile, will turn to veteran righty A.J. Burnett, who left money on the table to return to the Pirates and PNC Park, where he went 13-10 with a sub-3.00 ERA from 2012-13.
Burnett pitched well on Thursday against Cincinnati, yielding a pair of runs and four hits in 5 1/3 innings. He also struck out seven, but did not factor in the decision of his team's 3-2 loss.
In his last eight starts against Detroit Burnett is 5-1 with a 3.83 ERA.
Pittsburgh handed the Tigers their first loss of the season on Monday, as Gerrit Cole sparkled through much of his six-plus innings and the Pirates hit three home runs in a 5-4 win.
Homers by Pedro Alvarez and Corey Hart in the seventh inning provided three insurance runs that ended up being the difference after closer Mark Melancon gave up three runs in the ninth inning.
Josh Harrison also homered for the Bucs, who have won three of four since getting swept by Cincinnati to start the season.
Cole (1-0) had eight strikeouts in his second start of the season and cruised through the high-powered Tigers offense until he was pulled with the bases loaded and no outs in the seventh. The former No. 1 overall draft pick yielded one run on three hits and two walks.
"That's a lineup that's playing as big as any lineup in the majors this year and from top to bottom, he had command," said Pirates manager Clint Hurdle.
The Tigers had been 6-0 for the first time in 30 years.
Anibal Sanchez (1-1) struck out nine and walked none but gave up five runs on eight hits in 6 1/3 innings.
"His command was very good," said Tigers manager Brad Ausmus, "they just took advantage of a couple of mistakes."
Pittsburgh split four games with the Tigers last season, but has won five in a row against them at home.