TORONTO (AP) — Jeff Karstens capped a brilliant June with another strong start, Brandon Wood hit a two-run homer and the Pittsburgh Pirates won their first interleague road series since 2003, beating the Toronto Blue Jays 6-2 on Thursday night.The Pirates had lost 17 straight interleague series away from home since taking two of three at Tampa Bay in June 2003.
Karstens (6-4) allowed two runs and five hits in seven innings, improving to 3-0 with a 1.52 ERA in six June starts. He walked one and struck out two.
Solo home runs by J.P Arencibia and Yunel Escobar were the only blemishes for Karstens, who has allowed five home runs in his past two starts, all solo. The right-hander has given up 16 homers this season; all but one have been solo shots.
As a staff, Pittsburgh pitchers have surrendered 10 home runs in the past five games. Nine of the 10 have been solo homers.
Chris Resop worked the eighth, Tony Watson got one out in the ninth and Jose Veras pitched around a triple by Aaron Hill to finish it for the Pirates, who have won six of eight.
Blue Jays left-hander Brett Cecil (1-3) took the loss in his first major league start since April 20, allowing a season-high six runs and eight hits in 6 1-3 innings. He walked three, one intentional, and struck out six.
Cecil was recalled from Triple-A Las Vegas on Monday after going 8-2 with a 5.26 ERA in 12 starts while building up his arm strength.
The Pirates scored in the first when Alex Presley led off with a triple and scored on Andrew McCutchen’s grounder to third.
Cecil didn’t allow another hit until the fifth, but the Pirates turned it into a run. Josh Harrison led off with a double to centre, advanced to third on Michael McKenry’s sacrifice and scored on Presley’s sacrifice fly.
Arencibia’s 12th homer and Escobar’s ninth, tied it at 2-2 in the bottom half, but the Pirates reclaimed the lead with a three-run sixth.
Lyle Overbay opened the inning with a fly ball to shallow left that fell between third baseman Jose Bautista and outfielder Corey Patterson. Overbay went to second on the play, then advanced to third on Patterson’s throwing error. Ronny Cedeno drove in Overbay with a double to right, then came around on Wood’s homer to left, his third.
Pittsburgh made it 6-2 in the seventh. McCutchen chased Cecil with a double and Octavio Dotel gave up an RBI single to Matt Diaz.
NOTES: The Pirates finished interleague play with an 8-7 record. … Blue Jays RHP Casey Janssen (forearm) will make a rehab appearance at Class-A Dunedin this weekend. RHP Dustin McGowan (shoulder) is expected to begin his rehab assignment at Dunedin this weekend.
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