Jeff Karstens was efficient and effective over seven innings and the Pirates used a balanced, powerful (seven extra base hits) attack to beat the Blue Jays 6-2 in the rubber game of the inter-league matchup.
Pittsburgh jumped out early on Brett Cecil, who was making his first start since April. Alex Presley tripled leading off the game and then scored on a ground ball out from Andrew McCutchen. Cecil wouldn’t allow another hit until the fifth inning. That knock was a lead off double from Josh Harrison. He was moved up on a sac bunt from Michael McKenry and a sac fly from Presley made it 2-0 Pirates.
The Blue Jays were unable to do much in the first couple of innings against Karstens. Their best opportunity was in the first when Yunel Escobar and Eric Thames singled to start the game. Escobar was on third when Jose Bautista grounded to Lyle Overbay. Escobar tried to score but was thrown out at home by Overbay. Adam Lind hit into an inning ending double play.
The Jays got on the board in the fifth with solo homers from J.P. Arencibia and Escobar. Karstens quickly settled down and retired the final seven Blue Jays he faced.
He left with a nice cushion as the Piraets quickly regained the lead in top of the sixth. Lyle Overbay’s blooper fell into shallow left for a double. He scored on a double from Ronny Cedeno. Brandon Wood followed with a two run blast, to make it 5-2 Pittsburgh. McCutchen’s one out double in the seventh chase Cecil from the game. Matt Diaz greeted Octavio Dotel with an RBI single for the final run of the contest.
Chris Resop pitched a scoreless eighth in relief of Karstens. Tony Watson got the first out of the ninth and gave way to Jose Veras who closed out the victory.
Karstens allowed just the two runs on five hits and a walk in seven innings. He struck out two. He moved his mark to 6-4. Cecil suffered the loss in 6-1/3 innings he was charged with all six runs. He struck out six and walked three. The Pirates touched him for eight hits.
Karstens was great, again.
The offense had a season best seven extra base hits.
Diaz had two hits.
Everyone in the starting lineup except McKenry had at least one safety.
I have nothing.
Karstens is 3-0 against Toronto. Cecil had never faced the Pirates prior to this outing.
Karstens threw 64 of his 88 pitches for strikes. He got 14 ground ball outs versus only two fly ball outs.
McCutchen hit .347 in June.
Bucs finished June with a 16-11 record. They were 6-20 in 2010 and 14-13 in 2009. June of 2009 was the last time they had a month with a .500 record.
Neil Walker did not play due to discomfort in his back. Hopefully that turns out to be nothing of any consequence.