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Roansy Contreras, Oneil Cruz Lift Pirates to 8-2 Win Over Cardinals

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Pittsburgh Pirates, Roansy Contreras

PITTSBURGH — Oneil Cruz’s big game at the plate backed a strong start from Roansy Contreras as the Pittsburgh Pirates defeated the St. Louis Cardinals 8-2 on Friday night at PNC Park.

Contreras (5-4) held the National League Central-leading Cardinals scoreless through the first five inn1ings, before running into some trouble in the sixth.

The Cardinals (81-58) scored when Corey Dickerson bounced into a fielder’s choice after back-to-back hits to begin the frame.

After walking Tyler O’Neill, manager Derek Shelton went to the bullpen, bringing in Manny Bañuelos. The left-hander got Albert Pujols to bounce into an inning-ending double play.

In total, Contreras went 5.1 innings, allowed the one run on four hits to go with two walks and struck out one batter. Over his last three outings, Contreras has a 1.54 ERA.

“I thought the curveball was probably the best we’ve seen it, at least for the first five innings,” Shelton said. “He did a really good job just executing, kept himself out of trouble and did a nice job.”

Cruz hit a two-run triple to the North Side Notch in left-center field in the fifth inning to give the Pirates (51-86) a 3-0 lead. After doubling earlier in the game, Cruz extended his hitting streak to six games, which ties a career-high.

Bryan Reynolds picked up his 50th RBI of the season as he followed Cruz’s triple with a single up the middle. It was one of two hits for Reynolds, who also doubled.

Michael Chavis gave the Bucs a pair of insurance runs in the eighth with a triple to left-center. Cal Mitchell added another run for the Bucs when he followed with an RBI single, his third hit of the game.

Cruz’s big night continued in the eighth inning when he lined a 117.7-mph single into right field, driving in the Pirates’ final run.

“I think it’s just swinging at the right pitches,” Shelton said of Cruz. “When he hits the ball he hits the ball hard all the time.”

Ben Gamel put the Pirates ahead 1-0 in the second inning with a leadoff home run to center.

Tommy Edman cut the Bucs’ lead to two runs in the seventh when he looped a double into shallow right-center, plating Lars Nootbaar.

Ke’Bryan Hayes singled in his first two at-bats to give him his first multi-hit game since Aug. 24 while every Pirates’ starter had at least one hit.

Cardinals starter Miles Mikolas (11-11) struggled, allowing four runs on eight hits in five innings.

The Pirates’ Chase De Jong extended his scoreless innings streak to 19 after tossing 1.1 scoreless relief innings.

During the game, the Pirates wore Pittsburgh Crawfords jerseys to honor the historic Negro League team.

“Any time we’re able to highlight the history of the Negro Leagues, it’s even more special in Pittsburgh because of what the city of Pittsburgh means to the Negro League all around,” manager Derek Shelton said. “This is one of my favorite nights of the year.”

The Cardinals joined the Pirates in honoring the Negro Leagues by donning the jerseys of the St. Louis Stars.

On Saturday night, the Pirates will go for their first series win since sweeping the Brewers at the beginning of August. JT Brubaker (3-11, 4.35 ERA) will pitch for the Pirates. Jack Flaherty (0-1, 4.15 ERA) will be on the mound for St. Louis.

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