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Hot-hitting Bryan Reynolds leads Pirates into series opener vs. Rays

Good luck getting Bryan Reynolds out in June.

The Pittsburgh Pirates’ switch-hitting left fielder has a .343 career average in the month, and he’s hit safely in every game this June.

Reynolds will look to extend his MLB-leading 17-game hit streak on Friday when the Pirates host the Tampa Bay Rays to begin a three-game series.

A two-hit effort on June 1 sprouted what has ultimately matched the longest hitting streak of Reynolds’ career, which he set as a rookie in 2019.

This month, Reynolds is batting .343 (24-for-70) with a .600 slugging percentage and has three home runs, 10 RBIs and seven doubles.

“I’ve got a good history in June, I guess,” Reynolds said. “So, need to make it a longer month.”

Reynolds has seven multi-hit games during the streak, including three in his past six games.

He delivered Pittsburgh’s second straight series win with a solo home run in the eighth inning of a 1-0 victory against the Cincinnati Reds on Wednesday.

“It’s the biggest thing for a hitter,” Reynolds said. “If you’re confident, you’ll see the ball better, make better decisions. If you’re not, you’re going to swing at everything and be in between. I feel confident in the box, feel like I’ve got a good chance. That’s where everything starts.”

That’s helped the Pirates to a 10-7 record in June, with wins in three of their past four games. They’ve taken four of their past five series and have won the first game in each of their past five.

Pittsburgh’s promising June has kept the club in the playoff mix. The Pirates stand half a game behind the Arizona Diamondbacks for the final wild card in the National League.

Rays starter Ryan Pepiot (4-4, 4.57 ERA) will be tasked with slowing down Reynolds. The righty has faced the Pirates only once in his career, when he made his major league debut in Pittsburgh in 2022. He allowed one hit and walked five across three innings in a no-decision.

Tampa Bay is coming off a closely contested three-game series against the Twins in Minnesota. After dropping the opener 7-6, the Rays closed the series with a pair of one-run wins in extra innings.

In Thursday’s rubber match, Tampa Bay recovered after blowing a 6-2 lead in the ninth, with Jonny DeLuca driving in the winning run in the 10th in the 7-6 victory. That followed a 3-2 win in 10 innings on Wednesday.

Jose Siri came up clutch to help keep the Rays ahead in the bottom of the 10th on Thursday. The center fielder snared a fly ball in right-center before firing a rocket to third to throw out the automatic runner.

Siri also hit a home run Thursday, his second in the past four games. Four of his nine this season have come in June.

“Staying back and telling myself that I can do it,” he told Bally Sun Sports on Sunday. “Never losing focus and concentrate. If I struck out my first at-bat, that’s fine. Just stay focused.”

Tampa Bay is 5-8 over its past 13 games but has won three of its past four. Each of the Rays’ four most recent wins has been decided by two or fewer runs — Tampa Bay is a major league best 26-11 in such contests.

As of Thursday evening, the Pirates had yet to name a starter for Friday’s matchup.

–Field Level Media

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