Jared Jones strikes out 8, Oneil Cruz hits the ball into the Allegheny as Pirates edge Rays 4-3

Sat, Jun 22, 2024
MLB News (AP)

Jared Jones strikes out 8, Oneil Cruz hits the ball into the Allegheny as Pirates edge Rays 4-3

PITTSBURGH (AP) - Jared Jones struck out eight, Oneil Cruz homered into the Allegheny River and the Pittsburgh Pirates beat the Tampa Bay Rays 4-3 on Saturday.

Jones (5-6) overcame some early control issues to allow two runs over seven solid innings to bounce back from a pair of recent shaky starts.

The 22-year-old right-hander hit Brandon Lowe and Amed Rosario in the first inning, catching Rosario's helmet with a 99 mph fastball that forced the third baseman to exit with facial lacerations. Jones then settled down.

Aroldis Chapman gave up an RBI double to Yandy Diaz with two outs in the ninth but got Isaac Paredes to ground out and got his second save.

Cruz became the fifth player to send a ball to the Allegheny River on the fly when he turned on a Zach Eflin (3-5) pitch in the first and deposited it into the water 445 feet from home plate.

Andrew McCutchen hit his first triple in more than three years for Pittsburgh. Bryan Reynolds singled to extend his hitting streak to a career-best 19 games. Rowdy Tellez and Nick Gonzales also delivered RBIs for Pittsburgh on a scorching day at PNC Park that began with a temperature of 95 degrees.

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Richie Palacios entered after Rosario's exit and produced two of Tampa Bay's five hits as the Rays were held in check by Jones and a pair of relievers less than 24 hours after getting a season-high 17 hits in a victory. Diaz's two-out RBI double in the ninth extended his hitting streak to a career-best 15 games and his on-base streak to 24.

Eflin lost for the first time since May 1 when he couldn't quite match Jones, allowing four runs and five hits in seven innings.

Pittsburgh produced all the breathing room it would need in the third. The 37-year-old McCutchen - who believes he can still flash the speed of his prime when necessary - tripled off the right-field wall with one out, his first three-base hit since April 2021 for Philadelphia.

Reynolds, hitting .342 in June, followed with an RBI single. Tellez produced an RBI single of his own two batters later and Gonzales hit into a run-scoring forceout that gave Jones room to relax.

Jones retired seven of his last eight batters and exited to a loud ovation in his first start since getting roughed up for six runs in 4 2/3 innings last weekend against Colorado.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Rays: Lowe exited in the fifth inning. Lowe was hit in the side by a 91 mph slider from Jones in the first inning.

Pirates: C Joey Bart (thumb) went 2 for 3 and drove in a pair of runs on Friday night while on a rehab assignment with Triple-A Indianapolis. Bart was scheduled to serve as the catcher on Saturday while LHP Martin Perez (groin) makes a rehab start of his own.

UP NEXT

The series wraps up on Sunday when Pittsburgh's electrifying rookie Paul Skenes (4-0, 2.29 ERA) faces Aaron Civale (2-5, 5.42).

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AP MLB: https://apnews.com/hub/mlb

WILL GRAVES Graves is a national writer for The Associated Press, based in Pittsburgh. He covers the NFL, MLB, NHL, the Olympics and major college sports. twitter facebook mailto "
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