Sunk by the Pittsburgh Pirates, the Blue Jays brief winning streak has ended

The Toronto Blue Jays’ four-game winning streak (tied for their longest winning streak of the season) was snapped by the Pittsburgh Pirates. Toronto dropped the second game of the series 8-1, which was arguably over in the first inning.

Jays SP Yusei Kikuchi pitched 5.1 innings and gave up five earned runs, three of which came in the first alone.

Kikuchi walked the first hitter he faced before the runner scored on a sac fly. A few batters later, Ke’Bryan Hayes then took the LHP deep, already making it 3-0 Pittsburgh. Hayes recently came off the IL after recovering from a back injury.

After giving up three runs in the first, Kikuchi started to find his groove, retiring eight straight batters until the fifth inning. Jared Triolo reached on an error after hitting a ball down the 3rd baseline that alluded Isiah Kiner-Falefa; this lead to Andrew McCutchen to score Triolo, giving the Pirates a four-run lead.

Connor Joe would score McCutchen on another hit before running into an out at 2nd base. Toronto would get another crucial out from George Springer diving to catch a ball, keeping the game from getting out of hand temporarily.

The Pirates added another run from Bo Bichette’s throw to home, pulling Alejandro Kirk off the plate and allowing Hayes to score on the ball in motion.

Brendon Little gave up a home run to Bryan Reynolds in the ninth, as the Jays were down seven at that point. Little was just called up to the roster as Jays closer Jordan Romano was placed on the 15-day IL with right elbow inflammation. Romano will be shut down from throwing for a few days, and Toronto will evaluate the pitcher from there.

As for Pirates SP Mitch Keller, he had a stellar month of May, pitching to a 1.30 ERA and going at least six innings in his last three starts while only giving up two earned runs or less in each of those starts.

Keller had Toronto hitters swinging over his sweeper and getting effective called strikes from his sinker.

Keller would go past 100 pitches to go six innings and give up one earned run. Despite giving up 68 hits on the year (ranking in the top 15 of the league), Keller’s WHIP is tracking to be the lowest of his career.

Toronto’s only run of the game came off. Keller came in the sixth curiosity of Daniel Vogelbach dunking a ball to centre field, scoring Vladimir Guerrero Jr.

Both Daniel Vogelbach and Guerrero Jr. collected two hits, while the rest of Toronto’s lineup only had two hits combined. Toronto’s offence had some momentum going, ranking 14th in MLB for runs in May (115).

Toronto’s schedule for June is not light, and only getting four wins in a row is not enough to claw back into the playoff race.

On a positive note, Toronto still has the opportunity to win their second straight series for the first time since April 15th, when they took two out of three against the New York Yankees.

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