PITTSBURGH (AP)—Even with a new manager, the Toronto Blue Jays keep finding ways to lose.
Saturday, during the second game of Cito Gaston’s tenure, the Pittsburgh Pirates totaled only seven baserunners and never had a runner standing on second or third base yet still sent the Blue Jays to their season-high seventh consecutive loss, 6-3.
“We out-hit them. We just didn’t outscore them tonight,” Gaston said.
“Five hits, and three of them were home runs,” Toronto starter Jesse Litsch said. “Solo home runs aren’t going to hurt you, but when they start getting (two-run) home runs that’s going to kill you. It’s frustrating.”
Litsch (7-4) only allowed six baserunners during his six innings of work— but they all scored. He gave up five hits and a walk to lose his third consecutive decision.
Bautista had three hits and Matt Capps pitched a perfect ninth for his 17th save for the Pirates, who had only three singles and a walk other than the longballs during a game that lasted only two hours and three minutes.
“We took advantage of some balls out over the plate against a very good pitcher,” Pirates manager John Russell said. “(Toronto) has one of the better starting rotations in baseball and to take advantage of a few mistakes and not miss them and get them is obviously a big part of the game. Two-run home runs, three-run home runs are always a nice thing to get.”
Paul Maholm (5-5) gave up three runs on seven hits and three walks in seven innings to win his third straight decision in six starts since May 20. He had only one strikeout and only six flyball outs compared to 13 groundball outs.
“I was just staying sinker-changeup and let them hit it into the ground,” Maholm said. “Our defense made some great plays. With Bay and Chavy and Bautista hitting (two)-run homers it kind of lets you settle in and go after them.”
A night after needing 12 innings to score their first run in a 1-0 victory, the Pirates jumped on Litsch with a two-run homer to left in each of the first two innings.
“It was nice to get out to a little bit of a lead, and Pauly held on,” Bay said. “That is definitely not our forte, the long ball. We’re not going to win too many home run derbies, but at the same time we only had six hits and we had six runs.”
Bautista’s homer in the fourth was his eighth of the season but first at PNC Park, and made it 6-1 Pittsburgh.
He is hitting .358 during his past 22 games after hitting .212 through May 24, and Bautista has four home runs in his past seven games.
The Blue Jays’ first run of the series came in the fourth when Barajas hit a ground ball down the first-base line for a single that first baseman Adam LaRoche fielded well past the bag. LaRoche’s throw was low and to the left of a covering Maholm, allowing Vernon Wells to score from second.
The Pirates honored former star Roberto Clemente before the game for being named to the all-time Gold Glove team. Clemente’s widow and son were introduced to the crowd. … Pittsburgh’s Jack Wilson made his 1000th career appearance at shortstop. … Maholm has worked at least six innings in each of his past nine starts. … Despite the majors’ worst interleague record, the Pirates have won six of their past eight against American League teams at home.