MLB: Yandy Diaz, Rays jump ahead early, take series from Pirates

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Yandy Diaz extended his hitting streak to 16 games with a first-pitch leadoff homer to open the contest, helping the visiting Tampa Bay Rays defeat the Pittsburgh Pirates 3-1 on Sunday afternoon in the rubber match of a three-game series.

Reliever Kevin Kelly (2-0) allowed one walk and no hits in tossing two-thirds of the seventh inning for the Rays, who have won five of their past seven games. Pete Fairbanks was perfect in the ninth for his 11th save.

Pirates rookie Paul Skenes delivered another quality start, going seven innings and allowing just one run on six hits to go along with eight strikeouts and one walk. He’s fanned eight batters in three of his past four outings and has 61 strikeouts across 46 1/3 innings in his eight appearances this season.

Bryan Reynolds went 2-for-3, extending his major-league-leading hitting streak to a career-best 20 games.

Colin Holderman (3-1) replaced Skenes to start the eighth. Pinch runner Jose Caballero, in for Diaz after a leadoff single, advanced to third on Josh Lowe’s ensuing base hit and scored on Randy Arozarena’s sacrifice fly.

Lowe, who went 3-for-4, stole second with Isaac Paredes at the plate and came home to give Tampa Bay a 3-1 advantage when Richie Palacios singled to left field.

The Pirates threatened in the bottom half of the frame. Pinch hitter Andrew McCutchen opened the inning with a walk and was later deemed safe at second after Pittsburgh manager Derek Shelton successfully challenged the initial call of out at second on what had been ruled a double play. Reynolds followed with a two-out walk, but he and McCutchen were left stranded when Oneil Cruz grounded out.

After extending his hitting streak with a single in the first, Reynolds sent a first-pitch curveball over the Clemente Wall in right in the fourth for his third home run in his past four games. It was Reynolds’ 12th long ball overall, and it tied the game at 1-1.

Diaz, who went 3-for-4, extended his hitting streak right from the jump, homering off the right field foul pole to give the Rays a 1-0 lead. Lowe followed with a double, but Skenes retired the next two batters before Palacios popped out to end the inning.

–Field Level Media

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