Pirates' three home runs beat up Toronto, 6-3

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Jason Bay, Raul Chavez and Jose Bautista each hit a two-run home run in the Pirates' 6-3 victory against the Toronto Blue Jays tonight before an uncommonly involved crowd of 27,014 at PNC Park.

Paul Maholm pitched seven innings and allowed three runs and seven hits for his third consecutive victory, which evened his record at 5-5.

John Grabow and Matt Capps each followed with a scoreless inning of relief, Capps recording his 17th save.

All the home runs came off Toronto starter Jesse Litsch, all into the left-field bleachers. Bay's 15th came in the first inning, Chavez's first in Major League Baseball since 2005 came in the next inning, and Bautista's eighth -- his first at home -- came in the fourth. Bautista's was crushed into the base of the rotunda.

Bautista has homered in four of his past seven games, and his 3-for-3 evening continued his torrid hitting to .358 over the past 22 games.

The home runs accounted for all of the Pirates' offense. They stranded no runners on base.

The Pirates' lead was 6-1 when Toronto struck twice in the sixth off Maholm. David Eckstein's two-out single with Rod Barajas at second looked as if it would add another run, but center fielder Nate McLouth's laser throw to Chavez easily nailed him at the plate.

The Pirates have taken the first two games of this series, and Ian Snell will go for the sweep tomorrow.

"We've dug some holes for ourselves this year, but we've been pretty resilient at making sure we don't collapse," manager John Russell said beforehand, referring to the previous sweep by the Chicago White Sox. "We said going into the year that there would be some rocky times, but this is a tribute to all the hard work those guys have put in."

He made clear, though, that he was not trumpeting the Pirates being 36-39.

"Are we happy with where we are? No. But we're playing hard."

The Blue Jays have lost seven in a row.

More details in tomorrow's Post-Gazette.


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