Bichette’s double in clearing leads the Blue Jays ahead of the Pirates for a 4th victory in 5 games

Bo Bichette scored a decisive three-run brace in the seventh inning to lift the Toronto Blue Jays to a 4-1 win over the Pittsburgh Pirates on Saturday night.

The Blue Jays won for the fourth time in five games and maintained their lead for the third and final American League wild card. Toronto tied the division-leading New York Yankees within six games in the AL East race.

George Springer and Bichette each had two hits for the Blue Jays, who can sweep the three-game series on Sunday.

With the score tied 1-1, the Blue Jays charged the bases against Duane Underwood Jr. (1-4) in the seventh on a Springer single and marched to Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and Matt Chapman. Bichette then doubled to left field with two outs.

Underwood threw 37 pitches in the inning before being relieved after Bichette’s hit.

Pirates rookie Oneil Cruz opened the scoring with a three wide wide to right center in the third inning. The Blue Jays tied it an inning later when Raimel Tapia’s out tagged Bichette, who started with a single.

Yimi Garcia (4-4) picked up the win as the third of seven Blue Jays pitchers in a bullpen game. Garcia retired all four batters he faced.

Jordan Romano threw a perfect ninth for his 29th save.

Trevor Richards made his first start since 2020 and pitched two scoreless innings. He allowed one hit and had three strikeouts.

Pirates rookie Roansy Contreras allowed just one run in six innings but did not consider the call. He lowered his 2.63 ERA in four starts since being recalled from Indianapolis Triple-A on Aug. 17 when he allowed four hits, struck out five and walked two.

Contreras spent five weeks in the minor leagues, ostensibly so the Pirates could handle his pitched innings for the season.

Cruz had two hits for Pittsburgh, which lost for the 11th time in its last 13 games.

The Pirates inducted 19 members into the team’s inaugural Hall of Fame class ahead of the game.

Of the 19, 16 had previously been enshrined in the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum in Cooperstown, New York. The three living members of the class attended the ceremony: Steve Blass, Bill Mazeroski and Dave Parker.

The Pirates also inducted Negro League stars Ray Brown, Oscar Charleston, Josh Gibson and Buck Leonard. They played for the Pittsburgh Crawfords or Homestead Grays.

Blue Jays second baseman Santiago Espinal left the game in the eighth inning after being hit in the left hand by a Robert Stephenson pitch. Toronto outfielder Lourdes Gurriel Jr. (left wrist pain) returned to the lineup after missing Friday’s game.

Ross Stripling (6-4, 2.94) leaves Sunday for Toronto in the three-game series finale and is 1-1 with a 1.96 ERA since missing 16 days due to a sprained right hip.

The Pirates’ JT Brubaker (3-11, 4.39) will pitch for the first time since Aug. 23 after spending time on the paternity list for the birth of a son named Jed.

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