Roansy Contreras had a strong outing for the Pittsburgh Pirates on Saturday night, but it ultimately didn’t matter.
The Pirates lost 4-1 to the Toronto Blue Jays at PNC Park as Bo Bichette broke a seventh-inning tie with a three-run double off Duane Underwood Jr. The Pirates (49-83) lost for the 11th time in their last 13 games.
Contreras allowed only one run in six innings, but the rookie did not factor in the decision.
The right-hander lowered his 2.63 ERA in four starts since being recalled from Triple-A Indianapolis on Aug. 17 as he gave up four hits, struck out five and walked two. Contreras spent five weeks in the minor leagues, ostensibly so the Pirates could manage his innings pitched for the season.
“He’s done a really good job of executing and using his pitches,” Pirates manager Derek Shelton said. He used all three of them again tonight. He was extremely effective. That’s a good lineup. They make you grind.”
The Pirates scored first on Oneil Cruz’s RBI triple to the right-center field fence. The Blue Jays tied the score at 1-1 an inning later on Raimel Tapia’s groundout.
Cruz had two of the Pirates’ seven hits.
Bichette put the Blue Jays ahead in the seventh in what was a nightmarish inning for Underwood. Toronto loaded the bases on a single by George Springer and walks to Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and Matt Chapman then Bichette cleared them by doubling to left field with two outs.
Underwood (1-4) retired just two of the six batters he faced and threw 37 pitches.
The Blue Jays (72-59) won for the fourth time in five games and maintained their lead for the American League’s third and final wild card. They also got within six games of the first-place New York Yankees in the AL East.
Pirates third baseman Ke’Bryan Hayes (left shoulder discomfort) missed the game after leaving Friday’s loss to the Blue Jays early. Left fielder Ben Gamel (left foot soreness) sat out for a second straight day.
The three-game series concludes at 12:05 p.m. Sunday with JT Brubaker (3-11, 4.39) starting for the Pirates against Ross Stripling (6-4, 2.94). Brubaker will be pitching for the first time since Aug. 23 as he spent time on the paternity list for the birth of his son.