TORONTO — Canadian-American right-hander Jameson Taillon went six innings and struck out seven as the Pittsburgh Pirates scored four unearned runs in the third inning to beat the Toronto Blue Jays 4-2 on Friday at Rogers Centre.
Taillon (7-5) only issued one walk as the Pirates (58-58) have now six of eight and remain in the hunt for top spot in the N.L. Central. Felipe Rivero pitched a scoreless ninth for the save.
Marcus Stroman (10-6), who was 3-1 with a 2.24 earned-run average over his last eight starts, went eight innings allowing four runs on four hits while striking out four and walking one.
The Blue Jays (54-61) have dropped three of four.
The right-hander picked up a loss for the first time in seven starts — he was 2-0 with a 2.50 ERA in his previous six games.
Toronto jumped out to a 1-0 lead on a Kevin Pillar sacrifice fly, which scored Justin Smoak in the second.
Pittsburgh responded with one out in the third. After John Jaso was hit in the foot by a pitch, Frank Cervelli reached throwing error by Blue Jays second baseman Rob Refsnyder, which allowed Jaso to advance to third.
A second error by Refsnyder allowed Adam Frazier to reach while scoring Jaso from third. Josh Harrison delivered an RBI single and Andrew McCutchen drove in Frazier on a double to right field. McCutchen was later lifted from the game for Starling Marte due to left patellofemoral discomfort.
Josh Bell concluded the four-run inning with a sac-fly scoring Harrison.
Jose Bautista got a run back in the bottom half of the third, taking Taillon's curveball over the centre-field wall for his 20th home run of the season. The Blue Jays right-fielder now has eight consecutive seasons with at least 20 home runs. Only Carlos Delgado has more consecutive seasons with 20-plus home runs (9) in franchise history.
Toronto threatened in the seventh, but with runners on the corner, Pirates reliever George Kontos got Pillar to fly out, Refsnyder to strike out and Bautista to ground out to end the threat.
Notes: Blue Jays C Russell Martin left the game in the second inning with a left oblique strain. … RHP Chris Rowley will make his major league debut when he starts for Toronto on Saturday.