Hayes, Reynolds hit 2-run HRs, Keller wins 5th straight start as Pirates beat Blue Jays 8-1

TORONTO (AP) — Ke’Bryan Hayes and Bryan Reynolds hit two-run home runs, Mitch Keller pitched six strong innings for his fifth straight victory and the Pittsburgh Pirates snapped a nine-game losing streak against Toronto by beating the Blue Jays 8-1 on Saturday.

After going 4-0 with a 1.30 ERA in four May starts, Keller (7-3) extended his winning streak by allowing one run and five hits. He walked one and struck out eight.

“It was a gritty performance by Mitch and we needed it,” Pirates manager Derek Shelton said.

Andrew McCutchen drove in a run and scored twice and Jared Triolo had three hits to help Pittsburgh end Toronto’s winning streak at four with its first victory over the Blue Jays since 2017. Luis L. Ortiz pitched the final three innings for his first career save as the Pirates bounced back after losing 5-3 in 14 innings on Friday.

“It felt good to put some runs on the board and get the win after a long grind like last night,” Reynolds said.

Keller said he appreciated the help from an 11-hit attack.

“When the offense puts up the run support that they put up, it makes my job a lot easier,” he said.

Toronto left-hander Yusei Kikuchi (2-5) allowed a season-worst six runs and matched a season-high by giving up nine hits in 5 1/3 innings. He’s 0-4 in seven starts since his last victory, April 22 at Kansas City.

“I think he was just a little bit predictable at times today with his pitches,” Blue Jays manager John Schneider said. “The breaking ball, whether it be slider or curve, was in the zone, especially with two strikes.”

Hayes homered, his second, off Kikuchi in a three-run first inning. He finished 2 for 4 with two runs.

“Everything he hit was on the nose,” Shelton said about Hayes.

Edward Olivares added a sacrifice fly in the first for the Pirates. They are 18-13 when they open the scoring.

Reynolds made it 8-1 with a 440-foot blast, his longest this season, off lefty Brendon Little in the ninth. The homer was his eighth.

Blue Jays outfielder Daulton Varsho hit a one-out triple in the first and Vladimir Guerrero Jr. walked, but Keller struck out Bo Bichette and Daniel Vogelbach.

That extended Toronto’s franchise-worst stretch of empty opening innings to 23. The Blue Jays didn’t score in the first inning in 20 straight games to begin their 1977 expansion season.

Shelton said Keller’s resilience is a sign of his maturation.

“Two years ago, that start gets away from him,” Shelton said. “Today it doesn’t. He stays under control, continues to make pitches, uses his defense, doesn’t try to do too much. That’s a sign of what good, veteran pitchers do.”

Vogelbach ended Keller’s shutout bid with a two-out RBI single in the sixth.

Blue Jays right fielder George Springer made a diving catch on Olivares to end the top of the fifth, then made a similar play to retire Nick Gonzales in the eighth.

“He’s on another planet right now,” Shelton said about Springer. “I don’t know what we’ve got to do to get a ball in front of him or over his head.”

TRAINER’S ROOM

The Blue Jays put All-Star closer Jordan Romano on the 15-day IL because of a sore right elbow and recalled Little from Triple-A Buffalo. … Varsho returned after being unavailable Friday due to illness.

UP NEXT

Blue Jays RHP Chris Bassitt (5-6, 4.03 ERA) was scheduled to start Sunday in the series finale, while Shelton said the Pirates will promote RHP Quinn Priester (0-4, 4.33) from Triple-A to face Toronto. Bassitt is 3-0 with a 1.44 ERA in four career starts against Pittsburgh.

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