Pillar homers twice off Scherzer to lead Jays

Pillar homers twice off Scherzer to lead Jays

WASHINGTON -- Kevin Pillar homered twice off Nationals prized starter Max Scherzer to drive in four runs while right-hander Marco Estrada tossed six strong innings as the Blue Jays' snapped a three-game losing streak with a 7-3 victory Tuesday night at Nationals Park.

Pillar hit a solo homer in the second and added a three-run shot in the sixth as he carried the early load on offense. The third-year outfielder finished 3-for-4 in his most productive game at the plate this season.

"I was telling the guys, I've never hit two home runs at any level," Pillar said. "Never in Little League, college, high school, any level. That's the first time I had two home runs in a game and to do it against a guy like Max Scherzer, it was definitely a really special day for me and a day I'll never forget."

Estrada managed to navigate his way through some difficulty in the fourth and fifth innings en route to his second consecutive quality start. He allowed three runs -- two earned -- on six hits and two walks while striking out five. That was enough to earn his first victory since joining the rotation on May 5.

Scherzer was charged with four of the runs on six hits and two walks with five strikeouts. First baseman Tyler Moore was a standout for Washington with a pair of RBIs, which included a single and a sacrifice fly.

"A little different tonight," manager Matt Williams said of Scherzer. "But he had the lead. The ball Pillar hit was just a hanger in the middle of the plate."

MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
The daily double: Pillar almost single-handedly put the Blue Jays on his back with the first multi-homer game of his career. The turning point of the game came in the sixth when the 26-year-old launched a three-run homer to left field with two outs. Toronto had been trailing, 3-1, and was facing another blow on this difficult road trip, but one swing of the bat changed everything, at least for one night. More >

Pillar's second homer of game

Estrada survives: After the Blue Jays took the lead in the top of the sixth, Estrada found himself in a jam during the bottom half of the inning. With two outs, the veteran starter surrendered a double to the gap in right-center field to Michael Taylor. That put the tying run in scoring position, but Estrada got out of the tight spot when Danny Valencia made a nice diving play in left field on a sharp liner off the bat of pinch-hitter Dan Uggla. The Blue Jays then broke the game open in the seventh.

Valencia robs Uggla, saves run

Narrow miss: Bryce Harper missed out on his 19th home run of the season by mere inches with his leadoff at-bat in the fourth inning, but the double off the top of the fence in right field did spark a rally. Harper scored when Moore dropped a double just inside the left-field line to tie the game at 1. Then, Moore scored on a two-out single to right by catcher Jose Lobaton. The backup catcher, Lobaton has started 12 games this season and has eight RBIs.

Shaky relief: Blake Treinen pitched in relief of Scherzer and struggled through his portion of the seventh. He recorded two outs and allowed three earned runs on three hits. Treinen was solid in his previous eight outings, but his ineffectiveness Tuesday was the latest in a recent stretch of poor bullpen work for the Nats.

QUOTABLE
"That's a huge night. To do that against the guy he did it against. He had been scuffling for a while. He threw some hits out there in Minnesota, so you could see it coming, but he has been working his butt off and he made some adjustments. Good for him, it couldn't happen to a better guy. [Against] Scherzer, you're lucky to get one and then you get two, that's pretty impressive." -- Blue Jays manager John Gibbons, on Pillar's big night

"Couple swings of the bat and it's a different story. Pillar accounted for their first four runs. [Scherzer] gets those two outs there and it's a completely different game." -- Williams

Williams on Scherzer's struggles

SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
• Harper has gone four consecutive games without a home run for the first time since May 6, when he smacked three against the Marlins. He has 13 home runs during that 23-game span.

• Pillar became the first right-handed batter to have a multi-homer game against Scherzer. Four lefties had done it since 2010 -- David Ortiz, Jorge Posada, Justin Morneau and Chris Dickerson -- but it had never been done by a righty.

Pillar's solo shot

WHAT'S NEXT
Blue Jays: Left-hander Mark Buehrle will take the mound when the Blue Jays close out their three-game series against the Nationals on Wednesday night at 7:05 ET. Buehrle has gone at least seven innings in each of his last three starts and seems to have fully recovered from a slow start to the season. His last outing was a complete-game victory over the Twins.

Nationals: In the finale of the three-game series with Toronto, Taylor Jordan will get the starting nod as the Nats look for a series victory to rebound from a sweep in Cincinnati. It will be the first start of the season for Jordan, who last pitched Friday in relief of an injured Stephen Strasburg.

Watch every out-of-market regular-season game live on MLB.TV.

Gregor Chisholm is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, North of the Border, follow him on Twitter @gregorMLB and Facebook, and listen to his podcast. Jacob Emert is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.