PITTSBURGH (AP) — Neil Walker hit a tiebreaking, two-run double in the eighth inning, capping a comeback from a five-run deficit to lead the Pittsburgh Pirates over the Toronto Blue Jays 8-6 Saturday night.
A night after wasting a 5-3, ninth-inning lead in a 6-5 loss, Toronto led 5-0 in the fourth and 6-2 in the seventh
Aaron Loup relieved R.A. Dickey after Clint Barmes’ leadoff double in the seventh, and the Pirates tied the score on Josh Harrison’s RBI double, Pedro Alvarez’s run-scoring groundout and pinch-hitter Jordy Mercer’s two-run double.
One inning later, Ike Davis reached on a one-out infield single against Todd Redmond (0-3), Harrison singled and Walker hit a drive off the top of the center-field wall. The Pirates could have boosted their lead, but Starling Marte lined out to first against Chad Jenkins with the bases loaded.
Bryan Morris (3-0) pitched a perfect eighth, and Mark Melancon earned his first save of the season in place of injured closer Jason Grilli, retiring Colby Ramus on a game-ending groundout with two on.
Pittsburgh, which overcame four errors, won consecutive games for the first time since beating St. Louis and the Chicago Cubs on April 6 and 8.
Toronto’s Jose Bautista hit his ninth homer of the year, extended his hitting streak to a career-high 13 games. He set a Blue Jays record by reaching base in a 30th consecutive game.
Dickey allowed three runs, five hits and four walks, lowering his ERA to 5.01. Pirates starter Francisco Liriano gave up five runs – four earned – six hits and three walks in 3 2-3 innings, the second straight start he faled to reach the fourth.
Toronto built its early lead on Jose Reyes’ RBI double in the third and a four-run fourth that included Brett Lawrie’s run-scoring double off Marte in left, Rasmus’ RBI single, Steve Tolleson’s run-scoring, double-play grounder and a bases-loaded walk to Reyes.
Pittsburgh’s comeback began in the fourth when Dickey threw a run-scoring wild pitch, and Barmes hit an RBI groundout.
NOTES The Blue Jays removed RHP Sergio Santos from his role as interim closer after he blew three of his past four save opportunities. Manager John Gibbons said Toronto will use a closer-by-committee approach until closer Casey Janssen (oblique) returns from the DL. … After optioning RHP Brandon Cumpton to the minor leagues Saturday, the Pirates have an open spot in their rotation Monday when they start a three-game set against San Francisco. LHP Wandy Rodriguez (right knee) could return from the DL. … Toronto RHP Dustin McGowan (1-1, 5.87) is scheduled to pitch Sunday against Pittsburgh RHP Edinson Volquez (1-2, 3.21).