Oneil Cruz hit his first home run of the spring, but it wasn’t enough to keep the Pittsburgh Pirates from losing to the Detroit Tigers 8-7 on Wednesday in a Grapefruit League game at Publix Field at Joker Marchant Stadium in Lakeland, Fla.
Cruz hit a two-run opposite-field shot in the fifth inning, measured at 355 feet. He batted leadoff for the third time and is 3-for-8 with two RBIs and two runs scored.
The Pirates (1-3) lost when the Tigers’ Nick Maton hit a walk-off solo home run off minor-league callup Osvaldo Bido in the ninth inning.
Travis Swaggerty hit a three-run home run for the Pirates in the eighth inning to tie the game at 7-all.
Johan Oviedo was touched for four runs and five hits in the first inning then worked a perfect second.
Duane Underwood followed and struck out the side in the third on 11 pitches in the third inning. Non-roster left-hander Daniel Zamora gave up a two-run home run to Tyler Nevin in the seventh inning.
Liover Peguero hit a run-scoring single to give him four RBIs in three games.
Catching prospect Endy Rodriguez started at first base and went 1 for 2 with a double. He made just three appearances at the position last season in the minor leagues.
The Pirates play split-squad games Thursday, hosting the New York Yankees at 1:05 p.m. in Bradenton and visiting the Toronto Blue Jays at 1:07 p.m. in Dunedin. Mitch Keller will start against the Yankees and Roansy Contreras will face the Blue Jays.
The game against the Yankees will be televised by AT&T SportsNet. The matchup with the Blue Jays will be broadcast by 100.1 FM/AM 1020 KDKA and the Pirates Radio Network.