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Oneil Cruz Gives Pirates Walk-Off Win Over Orioles in Extras



Oneil Cruz, Pittsburgh Pirates

PITTSBURGH, Pa. —  Oneil Cruz’s walk-off base hit in the 11th inning sealed a 5-4 victory for the Pittsburgh Pirates over the Baltimore Orioles at PNC Park on Saturday.

With one out, Cruz lined a hard-hit single to right field and Henry Davis, who pinch ran for Joey Bart as the automatic runner, raced home to beat the throw from Anthony Santander.

Cruz’s winning hit was his second knock of the game and was the second walk-off of his career.He had a game-ending walk against the St. Louis Cardinals in 2022.

Cruz’s heroics came immediately after Ke’Bryan Hayes was robbed of a likely walk-off winner on an outstanding grab by Orioles center fielder Cedric Mullins.

The game went to extra innings after David Bednar, who converted 39 of his 42 save opportunities last season, blew his second save in three tries to begin the year.

Bednar entered the game with a 3-2 lead, but two one-out singles and a wild pitch gave the Orioles (5-3) runners on second and third. Mullins bounced one to first baseman Rowdy Tellez, who fired home but wasn’t able to nab Jordan Westburg.

Luis Ortiz was tasked with handling the 10th inning. Tony Kemp, who started at second as the automatic runner, moved up to third base on Gunnar Henderson’s groundout to first base. Henderson was able to trot home on Adley Rutschman’s sacrifice fly to deep center.

Ortiz and Josh Fleming (1-0) combined to hold Baltimore scoreless in the top of 11th inning.

The Pirates (7-2) tied the game 4-4 in the bottom of the 10th inning when Edward Olivares drew a walk with the bases loaded and nobody out. Danny Coulombe, who relieved the laboring Mike Baumann, prevented the Pirates from scoring by retiring the next three.

Pirates’ starter Bailey Falter pitched brilliantly and effortlessly navigated the Orioles through the first five innings. The only baserunners the Orioles managed through the first five innings both came in the fourth – one on a walk which was followed by an Alika Williams’ fielding error at second base. Falter was able to retire the next two batters he faced to keep Baltimore from scoring.

The Pirates’ left-hander lost his no-hit bid in heartbreaking fashion. Leading off the sixth inning, Jorge Mateo skied one into shallow right-center. Williams converged with center fielder Jack Suwinski and right fielder Connor Joe, but the trio of defenders let the ball fall in untouched, going as a double for Mateo.

Falter didn’t let the misplay get to him, retiring the next three batters he faced to keep the Pirates’ lead intact.

In six innings of work, Falter allowed just one hit, walked one and struck out one. The left-hander was efficient, needing 78 pitches to get through his outing.

In his first at-bat since he was acquired by the Pirates, Bart belted a two-run homer off of Austin Wells over the left-field fence, extending the lead to 3-0 in the second inning. 

Bart followed his home run with a 110.7 mph double to left in his second at-bat. 

The Pirates jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the second inning on Tellez’s RBI-single up the middle despite having two strikes against him. Tellez finished his night 3 for 3 with a walk. It was his first three hit game since Sep. 11, 2022.

Ryder Ryan came into the game in relief of Falter and promptly allowed a pair of runs in the seventh. With runners on second and third and nobody out, Austin Hays bounced out to third which allowed both runners to move up 90 feet. Mullins followed with a sacrifice fly to left field to cut the Pirates’ lead to 3-2. 

Up Next

The final game of this series between the Pirates and Orioles will take place on Sunday afternoon. Marco Gonzales (0-0, 1.80 ERA) will start for Pittsburgh. He’ll be opposed by right-hander Dean Kremer (0-0, 5.06 ERA). First pitch: 1:35.

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