The Pittsburgh Pirates have finally ended their long interleague road losing streak. Winning against an AL team on the road with Paul Maholm on the mound could continue to be a challenge.
Maholm has never won an interleague road outing while the Toronto Blue Jays have never lost one at home with Brandon Morrow starting as these teams continue their three-game set Wednesday night.
Pittsburgh (40-38) ended its 13-game interleague road losing streak by holding on for a 7-6 victory Tuesday. The Pirates built a 6-1 lead in the fourth inning before the Blue Jays hit three of their four homers in a comeback that fell short.
"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," manager Clint Hurdle said. "That's how I feel. I don't know if that's accurate or appropriate, but that's how I feel."
Pittsburgh was outscored 81-30 during its interleague road losing streak since an 8-2 victory at Minnesota on June 17, 2009.
Maholm (4-8, 3.21 ERA) has been on the end of some of those losses. He's 0-6 with a 6.60 ERA in 10 starts in AL parks, with the Pirates winning one of them.
The left-hander, however, ended a personal four-game losing streak his last time out by limiting Boston to one run over 5 1-3 innings in Friday's 3-1 home win. He labored through 103 pitches with 54 strikes.
"Paul did a very, very professional job managing traffic through the five-plus innings he was out there," Hurdle said.
Toronto (39-41) has fared well against southpaws, going 12-8.
The Blue Jays have also won Morrow's three career interleague home starts. Morrow (3-4, 4.90) is 1-0 with a 2.70 ERA in those outings.
Toronto has won the right-hander's last five interleague starts, although Morrow did not get a decision Friday when he allowed four runs over seven innings in a 5-4 victory over St. Louis.
He'll get his first look at Alex Presley, who hit his first career homer and drove in three runs in his season debut with Pittsburgh after being recalled from the minors Monday.
"You can't ask for much more out of a kid than to bring him up to the big leagues and three RBIs in the leadoff spot in his first game back," Hurdle said. "He made his presence felt."
Toronto's four homers were its highest total since also hitting four opening day against Minnesota. Edwin Encarnacion went deep twice and Jose Bautista and Corey Patterson also homered.
Tuesday's game marked Bautista's first at third base. The slugger is tied for the major league lead with 24 homers, and was happy the Blue Jays asked him for his permission to make the change as the club looks to get more offense around him in their lineup.
"If this is how they feel that the team is going to have the best nine out on the field, then I'll do it," he told the Blue Jays' official website.
Joel Hanrahan worked the ninth inning Tuesday for his 23rd save in 23 opportunities for the Pirates.