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Pirates Takeaways: Reynolds’ Changes Work, Cruz Sparks Offense



Pittsburgh Pirates, Bryan Reynolds

PITTSBURGH — When a slump drags on longer than it should, sometimes a tweak or two is all it takes to break out of it.

Often times, said change would be mechanical, an adjustment in the box or an alteration in approach.

That wasn’t the case for Pittsburgh Pirates outfielder Bryan Reynolds. The 29-year-old didn’t change any part of his swing. Instead, he changed his walk-up song and a few other things to help break out of a hitless slump.

“I changed a lot of things,” Reynolds said following the Pirates’ 5-3 win over the Colorado Rockies. “Cleats, arm sleeve, walk-out song. Just part of the adjustment, I guess.”

The changes worked.

Reynolds entered Sunday’s game without a hit in nine-straight at-bats. He was retired in his first two at-bats of the rubber match at PNC Park before hitting a double in the sixth and his first triple of the season the following inning.

It’s no coincidence that Reynolds helped lead the Pirates to their best offensive output in what’s been a continuous team-wide slump.

Reynolds’ double sparked a four-run sixth inning in the Pirates’ comeback win over the Rockies. At times during this losing stretch, a two-run deficit felt insurmountable. But not on Sunday.

“We just kept playing.” Reynolds said on the win. “Earlier in the year that’s what we were doing. Good start for us to get it going today and build off of it and do what we were doing earlier in the year.”

As for the walk-out song, Reynolds switched from Morgan Wallen to Toby Keith’s “Beer for My Horses.”

Why that song in particular?

“It’s a jam.” Reynolds said.

Offense Takes a Cruz

Oneil Cruz is a key figure in the Pirates’ lineup. Despite a slow start to the season, Cruz again found himself hitting cleanup in the batting order.

Cruz’s two-run home run in the sixth put the Pirates ahead and the Bucs never looked back.

Cruz narrowly missed on another home run in the fourth inning, instead settling for a double off the Clemente Wall. Over his last three games, Cruz has three hits including a pair of homers.

“When you put a W on the board you definitely get everything from everybody so it’s nice. Especially for (Cruz), I think confidence is huge for him,” said teammate Rowdy Tellez. “It’s great to see … He’s been struggling to really get it going so it’s nice. It’s fun to hit behind him too.”

Cruz admitted during the Pirates’ last homestand that his confidence had wavered some. After a few good games and better at-bats, his confidence appears to be back on the rise.

“(Confidence) I think will play into a large part of it,” said manager Derek Shelton. “I think the one thing we have to realize with Oneil is he does a lot of things that look easy so at times, he kind of gets that moniker of, ‘the body language is bad,’ when he cares and is locked in. But I do think getting a couple hits, having a couple good games – your confidence will definitely tick back up.”

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