Booming Blues Jays edge Pirates 4-3 to complete 3-game sweep

Ross Stripling (7-4) allowed three runs on two hits with three walks and eight strikeouts in six innings as Toronto improved to 6-1 in Stripling’s last seven starts dating July 13 . The Pirates placed the runners at second and third with no outs. against the Blue Jays closer to Jordan Romano in the ninth. Romano settled in to strike out the next three batters to collect his 30th save.

Rookie shortstop Oneil Cruz hit his 12th homer for the Pirates, a line-up shot to the bullpen past the center field wall with an out in the fifth that tied the game at 3. Josh VanMeter added a two-run brace for Pittsburgh, but the Pirates mustered little else.

Pittsburgh, which was guaranteed a fourth straight losing season with a loss on Friday, has dropped four straight and is 11-34 in its last 45 games.

Underwood, who suffered the loss on Saturday night after giving up a clearing triple to Bo Bichette, struggled for a second consecutive appearance. Danny Jansen and Matt Chapman picked a single to start the seventh.

Underwood took a break when Vlad Guerrero Jr. threw a double play, but Hernandez followed with a clean single down the middle to put Toronto ahead. Only a spectacular dive by Pittsburgh rookie outfielder Jack Suwinski on a sinking liner into the gap to left-center kept the Blue Jays from opening it up.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Pirates: OF/DH Ben Gamel returned to the line-up after missing two games with left foot pain. … Closest All-Star David Bednar, out since July 30 with back pain, kicked off a bullpen session before the game.

NEXT

Blue Jays: Start a four-game road series against the Orioles with a doubleheader on Monday. The two teams, which entered Sunday 1 1/2 games apart in the hunt for the AL’s third wildcard spot, are set to meet in three series over the final month of the season. Baltimore holds a 6-3 advantage against Toronto in 2022.

Pirates: Host the NL East leaders New York Mets for a three-game series starting Monday. New York’s Taijuan Walker (10-3, 3.45) takes on Mitch Keller (4-10, 4.43 ERA).

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Will Graves, The Associated Press

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