MLB: Blue Jays host Pirates, seek to extend winning streak


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The Toronto Blue Jays carry the momentum of their first series sweep of the season into a seven-game homestand that opens Friday night against the Pittsburgh Pirates.

The Blue Jays defeated the struggling Chicago White Sox 3-1 Wednesday night to take all three games of the series and complete a 4-3 road trip.

The Pirates are coming off a doubleheader split with the Detroit Tigers on Wednesday that opened a five-game trip following a 3-3 homestand. The Pirates won the second game 10-2 behind the pitching of Paul Skenes after dropping the opener 8-0.

The Pirates and Blue Jays had Thursday off before opening their three-game series.

The Blue Jays have won seven of their past 11 and are 10-9 in their past 19 but the win on Wednesday could have been costly as right-hander Alex Manoah was forced from his start with discomfort in his right elbow. He was to have had an MRI Thursday.

“I feel like I was just guarding it through my warmups and that first inning and even a little bit in that second inning,” Manoah said. “That last pitch I kind of told myself, don’t guard it. I tried to throw an extension-side fastball. My elbow, I guess, got full extension and it felt pinchy.”

Trevor Richards took over and pitched 3 1/3 innings followed by Tim Mayza, Zach Pop, Yimi Garcia and Jordan Romano.

“Nice that we have an off day (Thursday), but I think you can’t say enough about Trevor covering what he did as efficiently as he did,” Blue Jays manager John Schneider said.

Bo Bichette was 2-for-4 Wednesday and is batting .355/.388/.526 (27-for-76) with four doubles, three home runs and 14 RBIs over his past 19 games.
Isaiah Kiner-Falefa extended his hit streak to eight games with a single and two RBIs on Wednesday. He is hitting .400 (12-for-30) during that span.

“He’s always on. He’s a gamer,” Schneider said of Kiner-Falefa. “He’s very attentive to every single detail that may come up throughout the course of a game.

“Quietly, he’s really intense, too. I think he’s always had that about him and he’s not afraid to hold people accountable.”

In Pittsburgh’s second-game victory in Detroit, the Pirates had 13 hits, including six for extra bases. Six of their 10 runs came after the fifth inning.

“Very happy,” Pirates manager Derek Shelton said. “To bounce back and continue to add on throughout the entire game, it was very impressive.”

Andrew McCutchen hit a three-run home run and had four RBIs and Nick Gonzales had a solo shot and two RBIs for the Pirates. Each had three hits.

“It was nice,” McCutchen said. “We had a slow start with the first game. We picked it up in the second game. We were facing a guy (Keider Montero) that was making his MLB debut.

“We put some runs on the board for Skenes, who right now, doesn’t seem like he needs many runs. It was nice to not only get some runs on the board but continue to keep doing that as the game progressed.”

The Blue Jays are scheduled to start right-hander Jose Berrios (5-4, 2.94 ERA) in the series opener on Friday. Over three career starts against the Pirates, he is 2-0 with a 3.38 ERA.

The Pirates are scheduled to start left-hander Bailey Falter (3-2, 3.55) on Friday. He has not faced the Blue Jays.

-Field Level Media


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