Pirates 7, Blue Jays 6
Alex Presley's first career long ball is going to cost him long-distance charges.
Presley hit his first home run, Andrew McCutchen added a solo shot, and the Pittsburgh Pirates held on to beat the Toronto Blue Jays 7-6 on Tuesday night, earning their first interleague road win in more than two years.
Presley had no idea how many messages were waiting on his cell phone, because he turned it off after crossing the border into Canada.
''I'm trying not to use too many messages and minutes,'' Presley said. ''It's kind of an odd situation. I might have to splurge on some calls.''
His parents, back home in Shreveport, La., were likely to be among the lucky few who received phone calls from Presley. The conversations probably won't last too long.
''They like to talk a lot so I might have to cut them off short,'' Presley joked.
Pittsburgh manager Clint Hurdle was so impressed by the rookie's performance, he might help Presley pay his next phone bill.
''You can't ask for much more out of a kid than to bring him up to the big leagues and (get) three RBIs in the leadoff spot in his first game back,'' Hurdle said. ''He made his presence felt.''
Kevin Correia (10-6) allowed four runs and five hits in six innings for the Pirates, who have won five of six. Correia is 8-2 with an 2.69 ERA in 10 road starts this season. He is the first Pittsburgh pitcher since Bob Walk in 1993 to win 10 games before the All-Star break.
''He's been our lead guy from opening day until now,'' Hurdle said.
Joel Hanrahan worked the ninth for his 23rd save in 23 opportunities as the Pirates, who came in having lost 13 straight interleague road games, beat an AL opponent away from home for the first time since June 17, 2009, at Minnesota. Pittsburgh was outscored 81-30 in those games in that span.
The Los Angeles Dodgers lost a major league-record 15 consecutive interleague road games between June 14, 2005, and June 28, 2006.
Toronto's Jose Bautista hit his 24th home run, a two-run drive to left in the fourth, keeping him tied with Yankees slugger Mark Teixeira for the major league lead. After playing 70 games in right field and one at DH, Bautista made his first start of the season at third base.
Pittsburgh led 6-1 heading into the bottom of the fourth and handed the bullpen a three-run lead in the seventh, but nearly faltered in the seventh, escaping a bases-loaded jam when Adam Lind lined into an inning-ending double play.
''I don't think I've ever been in a game where I was up 6-1 and when it was over I feel like we stole a win,'' Hurdle said. ''That's how I feel. I don't know if that's accurate or appropriate, but that's how I feel.''
Presley, promoted from Triple-A on Monday, gave the Pirates a 2-0 lead when he homered into the right field bullpen in the third inning.
Encarnacion cut Toronto's deficit in half when he hit his fourth homer in the bottom half.
The Pirates chased Blue Jays left-hander Jo-Jo Reyes with a four-run fourth. Matt Diaz drove in a run with a triple that bounced over the head of two outfielders, and Presley and Neil Walker each had RBI singles.
Bautista made it 6-3 with his homer in the bottom half and then drove in a run when he reached on an error in the sixth.
McCutchen gave Pittsburgh a 7-4 lead when he homered to left in the seventh, his 11th, but Pittsburgh's bullpen struggled to hold the lead.
Patterson and Encarnacion hit back-to-back homers off Tony Watson in the bottom half, and the Blue Jays loaded the bases against Chris Resop on a walk to J.P. Arencibia, a double by Yunel Escobar and an intentional walk to Bautista.
''I'm a lucky man tonight,'' Veras said. ''I'm glad we got a double play with one pitch.''
Blue Jays manager John Farrell didn't fault Bautista for being caught off first base.
''Jose's trying to get a sizable lead, the line drive hooked behind him, he almost had to duck out of the way and it was so hard hit. That's a bang-bang play,'' Farrell said. ''You freeze on a line drive and he did just that.''
Veras pitched a perfect eighth before turning it over to Hanrahan.
Reyes (3-7) lost his second straight start, allowing a season-high six runs and nine hits in 3 2-3 innings. He walked one and struck out five.
NOTES: The Pirates placed OF Jose Tabata (strained left quad) on the 15-day DL, retroactive to June 27, and recalled INF Josh Harrison from Triple-A Indianapolis. ... Presley made his season debut, batting leadoff. He is the 42nd player Pittsburgh has used this season, tied with the Dodgers for most in the majors. ... Toronto recalled LHP Brett Cecil from Triple-A Las Vegas and optioned RHP Zach Stewart to Double-A New Hampshire. Cecil will start against Philadelphia on Thursday. ... Blue Jays RHP Carlos Villanueva will have his next start pushed back to July 2 to limit his innings. Villanueva will make two more starts before the All-Star break. ... Former Blue Jays OF Joe Carter threw out the first pitch.