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Blue Jays Coast to Easy Win, Stretching Pirates’ Skid to Five

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The Pirates are finding the juggernauts of the AL East a bit more than they can handle.  Having amassed four runs in three games against the Rays and Manny Gonzalez, they returned home to face Toronto and got shut out, 4-0.  The loss was their fifth straight.

The Pirates had only four hits and four walks, but this time they made sure they didn’t strand them all.  Having torpedoed themselves with inept defense in St. Petersburg, in PNC Park the Bucs turned to TOOTBLANery.  Ji-Hwan Bae led off the bottom of the first with a walk and stole second, but was caught stealing third.  In the second, Rodolfo Castro tried to score on a short wild pitch and was thrown out on a good play by the catcher and pitcher.  In the fourth, Carlos Santana tried to go first to third on a two-out single and got thrown out.  For the third out.  At third.  In a veteranly manner, of course.

The only other semblance of a scoring chance was a one-out double by Bryan Reynolds in the sixth.  Santana and Jack Suwinski followed that with pop ups.  For Suwinski that was progress of a sort; he struck out his other three times up.  In his last five games, he’s 0-for-16 with ten strikeouts.

Rich Hill had a Rich Hill game.  He got knocked around a good bit, allowing eight hits in five and a third innings.  Some days he strands most of those runners, some days he doesn’t.  This was the latter.  He gave up a run in the first on a double and a single, finished off by a Bondsian throw from Reynolds.  A pair of two-out doubles cost him a run in the fourth, and George Springer finished off the scoring with a two-run bomb in the fifth.

The bullpen locked the barn door nicely.  Dauri Moreta inherited two runners from Hill with one out in the sixth and they promptly pulled off a double steal.  (Toronto stole four off Austin Hedges, whose superhuman catcher abilities have allowed him to throw out two of 18 base stealers so far.)  Moreta fanned the next two hitters to strand the runners, then retired the side in order in the seventh.  Newly returned Chase De Jong walked the first two hitters in the eighth, but got out of it.  And David Bednar emerged from hibernation to strike out two in an easy ninth.

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Wilbur Miller
Wilbur Miller
Having followed the Pirates fanatically since 1965, Wilbur Miller is one of the fast-dwindling number of fans who’ve actually seen good Pirate teams. He’s even seen Hall-of-Fame Pirates who didn’t get traded mid-career, if you can imagine such a thing. His first in-person game was a 5-4, 11-inning win at Forbes Field over Milwaukee (no, not that one). He’s been writing about the Pirates at various locations online for over 20 years. It has its frustrations, but it’s certainly more cathartic than writing legal stuff. Wilbur is retired and now lives in Bradenton with his wife and three temperamental cats.

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