Oneil Cruz went 2 for 4 with two RBI and scored the go-ahead run as the Pittsburgh Pirates defeated the Milwaukee Brewers 4-2 on Tuesday night.
Cruz hit an RBI single in the third inning and a run-scoring double in the ninth. He also broke a 2-all tie in the eighth when he scored from third as Rodolfo Castro drew a bases-loaded walk from Brad Boxberger.
The Brewers opened the ninth inning with Kolten Wong’s double and Keston Hiura’s single to put runners at the corners, but Chase De Jong retired Andrew McCutchen on a pop fly and induced a double-play grounder from Luis Urías to earn his first career save. A strong throw from Cruz at shortstop completed the double play.
The Pirates have acquired eight of their last 12 meetings with the Brewers after losing each of their first six matchups this season. Cruz’s midseason promotion to Pittsburgh helps explain the reversal of fortune.
Cruz has six homers and 17 RBI in 46 at-bats against the Brewers. He has five homers and 19 RBI in 163 at-bats against everyone else. He hit a three-run homer against reigning NL Cy Young Award winner Corbin Burnes in the Pirates’ 7-5 loss to the Brewers on Monday.
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Wong and Pittsburgh’s Michael Chavis each hit a two-run homer Tuesday.
The Pirates’ patience paid off versus Boxberger as they snapped a 2-all tie in the eighth. Boxberger walked Castro on four pitches and issued three free passes in the inning.
Cruz walked with one out and advanced to second on a Bryan Reynolds’ single. Boxberger retired Ke’Bryan Hayes on a fly to left field before issuing consecutive walks to Ben Gamel and Castro.
The Brewers’ only runs came in the fourth, as Wong sent a 2-2 curveball from Mitch Keller just over the right-field wall for his 11th homer of the season and third in the last four matches.
Wong was batting fourth in the lineup, the first time in his 10-year career he started in the cleanup spot.
Pittsburgh tied the game in the seventh on Chavis’ two-out solo shot to left. Chavis connected on a 1-1 curve from Matt Bush and sent it an estimated 417 feet.
Wong’s homer was one of the only mistakes Keller made. Keller had a career-high 10 strikeouts and gave up two runs, four hits and two walks in six innings.
Manny Bañuelos (1-1) earned the win with 1 1/3 innings of shutout relief.
Brewers starter Jason Alexander also set a career high in strikeouts with six. The 29-year-old rookie worked five innings and permitted one run, three hits and one walk.
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