Pirates Again Falter at Plate, on Mound; Swept by Blue Jays After 10-1 Loss
PITTSBURGH — After a rain delay of one hour and 35 minutes prior to first pitch, the Pittsburgh Pirates probably are wishing that game was called.
The Pirates (20-15) again failed both at the plate and on the mound as they were clobbered 10-1 by the Toronto Blue Jays at PNC Park on Sunday. With the loss, the Pirates were swept in three-games in back-to-back series.
The loss also extended the Pirates’ losing streak to a season-high seven games. In those seven games, the Pirates have only managed to score nine runs.
The Pirates as a team haven’t scored three runs in a game in the month of May with the last time coming in both games of a doubleheader against the Washington Nationals on Apr. 29.
Ke’Bryan Hayes, however, served as a bright spot for the Pirates offensively. He was on base three times, including two singles, giving him his second-straight two-hit game. Hayes also stole two bases, the first time he’s done that since Sep. 12 of last year against the Reds.
Like Hayes, Jason Delay had a couple of hits with a pair of hard-hit singles to left field.
The Pirates first run of the game didn’t come until the eighth inning when Carlos Santana went the other way for a base hit to drive in Hayes and make it a 5-1 game.
In the eighth, the Pirates had a chance to cut into the Jays’ lead even further or potentially tie it when they had the bases loaded with one out. However, Jack Suwinski struck out while Miguel Andujar popped up to end the threat.
Bryan Reynolds, who went 0 for 5, saw his 11-game hitting streak come to a close.
Blue Jays starter Yusei Kikuchi (5-0) held the Pirates scoreless on only four hits in 6.1 innings.
With two outs and the bases loaded in the top of the first, Whit Merrifield legged out an infield single to put the Blue Jays up 1-0. The RBI-single gave Toronto a run in the first inning in all three games of this series.
Roansy Contreras (3-3) was able to prevent further damage when he struck out Danny Jansen to end the inning.
Merrifield struck again in the third inning when he took a 1-2 hanging breaking ball for a three-run home run to left field. It was Merrifield’s first round-tripper of the season.
Toronto took a 5-0 lead in the fifth inning when Hayes retired Jansen on a slow roller to third, but Matt Chapman was able to score.
That was all for Contreras, who allowed five earned runs in five innings. The Blue Jays (21-14) knocked the right-hander around for nine hits while Contreras walked three and punched out four.
The Jays didn’t score again until Daulton Varsho clobbered a two-run home run that ended up in the Allegheny River in the ninth. Varsho became the 46th different player to reach the river as well as the first Blue Jay and first one to do it in 2023.
Jansen later added an RBI-double to right-center before Kevin Kiermaier hit a solo homer to right to put Toronto up by the final tally of 10-1. All five runs in the ninth came against reliever Chase De Jong.
Ji Hwan Bae and Andrew McCutchen each made their returns as pinch hitters late in the game. In Bae’s case, he remained in the game defensively at second base.
The Pirates next chance to snap their losing streak will come on Monday night when the Colorado Rockies come to town. Mitch Keller (3-1, 3.32 ERA) will be on the mound for Pittsburgh. Lefty Kyle Freeland (3-3, 3.76 ERA) will get the ball for the Rockies. First pitch: 6:35.