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Jun 1, 2024 2:11 am

After 14-inning win, Jays out to extend streak vs. Pirates

Kikuchi

The starting pitchers might have to give a little extra Saturday afternoon as the Toronto Blue Jays aim for a season-best fifth straight win when they face the visiting Pittsburgh Pirates.

Both teams went deep into their bullpens Friday night in the opener of the three-game series, with the Blue Jays winning 5-3 in 14 innings on a two-run home run by Davis Schneider.

The Blue Jays had their first walk-off win of the season to start their seven-game homestand and have won nine consecutive meetings with the Pirates.

“I feel like we’re just about putting the pieces together,” Blue Jays manager John Schneider said. “We have the talent. It’s just a matter of putting it all together.”

The home run was Schneider’s first career walk-off hit. In his past seven games, he is batting .280 (7-for-25) with three doubles, two homers and 10 RBIs.

Toronto is scheduled to start left-hander Yusei Kikuchi (2-4, 3.25 ERA) on Saturday. In three career outings (two starts) against Pittsburgh, Kikuchi is 1-0 with a 3.55 ERA.

Pittsburgh is scheduled to start right-hander Mitch Keller (6-3, 3.59), who has not faced Toronto.

The Blue Jays were without outfielder Daulton Varsho (food poisoning) and reliever Jordan Romano (tender elbow) on Friday.

Almost forgotten in the 14-inning affair was how well the starting pitchers performed. Pittsburgh left-hander Bailey Falter pitched six scoreless innings, while Toronto right-hander Jose Berrios allowed one run in seven innings.

“It’s a tough one to swallow,” Falter said. “But that’s why we play 162.”

Falter did not allow a runner to get into scoring position until the sixth. He struck out Vladimir Guerrero Jr. to end the threat.

“It gets me pretty fired up, I’m not going to lie,” Falter said. “Fastball is in a really good place for me right now, so we’re just going to continue to use that to our advantage.”

The Blue Jays were fortunate to enter extra innings tied 1-1.

Their only run going into extras came in the seventh, when Pirates center fielder Ji Hwan Bae lost pinch hitter Daniel Vogelbach’s two-out fly ball with the roof open as it dropped for a game-tying double.

“I’m assuming it’s twilight here. It’s the first time (Bae has) ever been in this ballpark,” Pittsburgh manager Derek Shelton said. “Because the game went fast, we were in a really strange spot. … I think it was just something that he just lost in the twilight.”

The Pirates got two hits each from Andrew McCutchen and Nick Gonzales.

Over his past 17 games, McCutchen is 23-for-70 (.329) with two doubles, five home runs and 12 RBIs.

Genesis Cabrera (2-1) pitched the final 1 2/3 innings to complete seven hitless innings by five Toronto relievers.

“They made big pitches,” Schneider said. “That’s really hard to do with a runner at second that many times in a row.”

Toronto put right-hander Alek Manoah (elbow sprain) on the 15-day injured list Friday, retroactive to Thursday.

Manoah left Wednesday’s start after just 1 2/3 innings due to discomfort in his right elbow. TSN reported Friday that Manoah is likely to miss “an extended period of time.”

Right-hander Ryan Burr, who was obtained from the Philadelphia Phillies for cash considerations Thursday, took Manoah’s spot on the 26-man roster. Right-hander Joel Kuhnel was designated for assignment.

–Field Level Media

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