June 14th, 2024

Pirates dump Blue Jays 8-1 to end Toronto’s four-game win streak

By Gregory Strong, The Canadian Press on June 1, 2024.

Pittsburgh Pirates third base Ke'Bryan Hayes (13) rounds the bases after hitting a two run home run against Toronto Blue Jays pitcher Yusei Kikuchi during first inning interleague MLB baseball action in Toronto on Saturday, June 1, 2024. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chris Young

TORONTO – Ke’Bryan Hayes and Bryan Reynolds homered to power the Pittsburgh Pirates to an 8-1 victory over Toronto on Saturday afternoon and end the Blue Jays’ four-game winning streak.

Hayes hit a two-run shot in Pittsburgh’s three-run first inning and Reynolds added a two-run homer in the ninth.

Vladimir Guerrero Jr. scored the lone run for the Blue Jays (27-30) in front of 36,484 spectators on a sunny afternoon at Rogers Centre. Toronto starter Yusei Kikuchi lasted 5 1/3 innings and allowed six earned runs.

Andrew McCutchen scored three times for the Pirates (27-31), who outhit the Blue Jays 11-6. The teams will play the rubber game in the three-game series Sunday afternoon.

Kikuchi (2-5) walked McCutchen on four pitches to kick off a rough first inning.

McCutchen later scored on an Edward Olivares sacrifice fly. Connor Joe doubled and scored when Hayes blasted his second homer of the year.

Daulton Varsho didn’t play in Friday’s series opener – a 5-3 Toronto win in 14 innings – due to food poisoning. He hit a standup triple in his first at-bat Saturday, but was left stranded when Pittsburgh starter Mitch Keller struck out Daniel Vogelbach.

The Pirates tacked on two more runs in the fifth inning after a double and sacrifice bunt were followed by three straight singles. McCutchen lashed a pitch off Bo Bichette’s glove to drive in Jared Triolo and later scored on a Joe single.

The Toronto infield was drawn in again in the sixth when Ryan Burr – making his Blue Jays debut – relieved Kikuchi with runners in scoring position. Burr got Triolo to hit a grounder to Bichette but the shortstop was wide with his throw home and Hayes scored on the error.

The Blue Jays tallied in the bottom half of the frame when Vogelbach lifted a flare to shallow centre field that allowed Guerrero to score from second base.

Keller (7-3) allowed five hits, one earned run, a walk and had eight strikeouts over six innings. Kikuchi gave up a walk, nine hits and fanned four.

With McCutchen aboard in the ninth inning, Reynolds went deep off left-hander Brendon Little for his eighth homer of the year.

The game took two hours 28 minutes to play.

ROMANO OUT

Before the game, the Blue Jays placed closer Jordan Romano on the 15-day injured list due to right elbow inflammation.

Little was recalled from Triple-A Buffalo.

SWEET RELIEF

Five Toronto relievers combined to throw seven hitless innings – a franchise best – in the series opener.

The team’s previous best of six no-hit frames was set April 12, 1994 against the Oakland Athletics and matched Aug. 26, 2002 against the Chicago White Sox.

COMING UP

Blue Jays right-hander Chris Bassitt (5-6, 4.03 earned-run average) was tabbed to start on Sunday. The Pirates had yet to name their starter.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 1, 2024.

Follow @GregoryStrongCP on X.

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