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Pirates try to take set from visiting Jays
(SportsNetwork.com) - The Pittsburgh Pirates ended their losing streak and opened a nine-game homestand in style versus the Toronto Blue Jays.
The Pirates seek an encore performance Saturday in the middle portion of a three-game series against the Jays at PNC Park.
Pedro Alvarez hit a two-run homer in the bottom of the ninth inning to tie the game at 5-5 and Starling Marte was the hero one out later with a solo shot to center field. Marte had four hits, Neil Walker went 3-for-4 with three runs scored and Andrew McCutchen added three hits and two RBI for the Pirates, who had lost 10 of 12 games.
"We've had the opportunity a number of different times for sparks," Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said. "We've talked about it about five different ways. This is the fifth way it's been brought up to me after a game, could this be the spark to start something? I believe all of them could be sparks. This is the next opportunity for us to move upon some momentum."
Mark Melancon pitched the top of the ninth to get the win and starter Gerrit Cole avoided a decision after he allowed four runs and seven hits in five innings.
The Pirates ended a three-game home losing streak will also host San Francisco and St. Louis on the current stay.
Francisco Liriano left his last start after two innings because of an illness and is ready to go for the Pirates Saturday. Liriano gave up two hits in the no-decision last Saturday in a 6-1 win at St. Louis and is 0-3 with a 3.97 ERA through six starts.
Liriano, who lasted at least six innings in his previous five outings, is 1-3 with a 4.50 ERA in five career games (4 starts) against Toronto.
Toronto failed to hold onto a lead Friday and it sent the club to its seventh loss in nine tries. Sergio Santos permitted the home runs in the bottom of the ninth and was dealt the loss.
Brandon Morrow started for the Blue Jays and gave up three runs and 11 hits in five innings of work.
"The defense was playing really good behind me. I got a lot of ground balls, even for hits," Morrow said.
Colby Rasmus hit a two-run homer in a losing effort.
The Blue Jays lost two of three in Kansas City to start an eight-game road trip and will make a quick stop in Philadelphia before returning home.
Toronto will send knuckleballer R.A. Dickey to the bump Saturday and he ended a three-start winless (0-2) drought the last time out Sunday in a 7-1 win over Boston. Dickey limited the visiting Red Sox to a run on five hits with no walks and six K's over 6 1/3 innings.
He is 2-3 with a 5.09 ERA.
Dickey, a right-hander, gave up 13 runs in his previous three outings. He has lost both of his road starts this season and is 3-2 with a 2.68 ERA in seven career games (6 starts) against the Buccos.
The Jays and Pirates are meeting for the first time since 2011, when Pittsburgh took two of three games north of the border.
05/03 10:04:09 ET
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