PITTSBURGH — The Pittsburgh Pirates edged the Chicago White Sox in a pitcher’s duel on Easter Sunday at PNC Park but the win came at a cost as Oneil Cruz left the game early with an apparent injury.
Cruz slid awkwardly into White Sox catcher Seby Zavala and grimaced as he was getting his left leg checked out by the Pirates’ medical staff.
As Cruz lay on the ground injured, a bench-clearing brawl ensued between the two teams. No punches were thrown, but Carlos Santana appeared to shove Zavala at the start of the brawl.
Cruz was replaced in the game by Ji Hwan Bae at second base with Rodolfo Castro sliding over to shortstop.
Johan Oviedo (1-0) was masterful in his second start of the season for the Pirates. He held Chicago scoreless over 6.2 innings and limited the White Sox to five hits — all of which were singles. Oviedo showed good command as he struck out five and didn’t walk a batter.
After allowing five runs (four earned) in the first inning of his first start of the season in Boston, Oviedo now has a scoreless streak of 10.1 innings.
He left the game with a runner on second base and two outs in the seventh. Manager Derek Shelton brought in Dauri Moreta, who struck out pinch hitter Yasmani Grandal to end the threat.
Canaan Smith-Njigba hit a one-out triple off of the Clemente Wall in the second inning and scored on a Jack Suwinski sac fly to put the Pirates ahead 1-0.
The lone tally was all the Pirates needed as Colin Holderman pitched a spotless eighth inning and David Bednar recorded his fourth save of the season.
The win gave the Pirates (6-3) the series victory over the White Sox (4-6) and marked their fifth win in their last six games.
Up next, the Pirates will host the defending World Series champion Houston Astros for a three-game series beginning on Monday night. Right-hander Roansy Contreras (1-0, 1.59 ERA) will make his second start of the season. The Astros will send out LHP Framber Valdez (0-1, 1.50 ERA). First pitch: 6:35.