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Pirates Spring Game Recap: Oneil Cruz Hits First Homer, Peguero Seals Win Over Blue Jays

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Oneil Cruz, Pittsburgh Pirates

It had been 341 days since Oneil Cruz last hit a home run with the Pittsburgh Pirates. On Tuesday, he connected on his first homer of the spring in the Pirates’ 6-5 win over the Toronto Blue Jays in Bradenton.

With the Pirates (5-6) trailing by three runs in the bottom of the fifth inning, Cruz sent a 411-foot blast over the center field fence off of Mitch White. The ball left Cruz’s bat at 115 mph.

Two innings later, the Pirates evened the score at 3-all. Liover Peguero scored on a throwing error from pitcher Ryan Jennings, and Tsung-Che Cheng belted a solo home run to left-center. Peguero would later play the part of hero.

After the Blue Jays (3-8) regained a 5-3 lead off of Brent Honeywell Jr. in the top of the eighth, the Pirates took it right back in the bottom of the frame. Jase Bowen attempted to lay down a sacrifice bunt and while a run scored, the Blue Jays recorded two outs on the play.

Peguero followed Bowen’s bunt attempt with a go-ahead two-run home run to left-center field to put the Pirates up 6-5.

Toronto jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the third inning on a Daulton Varsho RBI-groundout. They struck for two more runs in the fifth inning courtesy of a Nathan Lukes run-scoring double before Bo Bichette drove him in with a base hit to left.

NOTABLE PERFORMANCES

  • Jared Jones made his first start of the spring and tossed two-scoreless innings. He didn’t allow a hit, walked one, struck out one and hit 101 mph on the radar gun with his fastball.
  • Quinn Priester allowed one run on two hits across two innings pitched. He walked one and struck out one.
  • Bailey Falter was responsible for two runs in the fifth inning and threw a scoreless six. He surrendered three hits, walked one and punched out two.
  • Liover Peguero finished the game 2 for 2 with two RBIs and two runs scored. He upped his batting average to .333 (4 for 12).
  • Andrew McCutchen played in his first game this spring training and finished 1 for 2. He lined a single in his first at-bat for his first hit of the spring.
  • Billy McKinney extended his on-base streak to eight games. Ji Hwan bae extended his to six.

UP NEXT

The Pittsburgh Pirates will head to Sarasota for another matchup with the Baltimore Orioles on Wednesday. Mitch Keller will be on the mound for the Pirates and will be opposite Julio Teheran. It’s the first night game this spring for Pittsburgh. First pitch: 6:05 ET.

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