Oneil Cruz hits 2-run homer, leads Pirates to 5-3 win and series victory over Rockies

PITTSBURGH -- — Oneil Cruz hit a two-run homer to highlight a four-run sixth inning, powering the Pittsburgh Pirates past the Colorado Rockies 5-3 on Sunday for a series win.

Cruz sent a slider from Ryan Feltner (1-3) 429 feet to right-center, bouncing his fifth of the season off the roof of a bar beyond the stands to put Pittsburgh ahead 4-3. He also had a double for his first game with multiple extra-base hits in 35 games this season.

Before hitting a ball into the Allegheny River in the ninth inning of a 3-2 series-opening loss Friday, Cruz had two doubles in 17 games between homers.

“I think the one thing we have to realize with Oneil is he does a lot of things that look easy,” Pirates manager Derek Shelton said. “So, at times, he gets the moniker of, like, ‘The body language is bad.’ He cares. I mean, he's locked in. But I do think getting a couple of hits, having a couple of good games, your confidence will definitely tick back up.”

After the homer, Rowdy Tellez hit a double to right before scoring on a single from Jack Suwinski. Feltner, who gave up five runs on eight hits in 5 2/3 innings, began the inning by allowing a single to Connor Joe and a double to Bryan Reynolds in the first four pitches. Joe scored on a grounder from Ke’Bryan Hayes.

The Pirates took the final two of the three-game set, their first series victory since winning two of three against Baltimore from April 5-7. The Rockies, who have lost seven of eight, have yet to win a series.

“Unable to get the big hit throughout the course of the game a couple of times,” Colorado manager Bud Black said. “That's been a killer for our offense. Somewhere along the line, we've got to get a couple of guys hot.”

Luis Ortiz (2-1) was perfect in 1 2/3 innings after replacing Pittsburgh starter Bailey Falter with one out in the sixth. David Bednar picked up his sixth save, allowing a two-out double from Sean Bouchard before striking out Jake Cave in the ninth.

Jacob Stallings and Bouchard put Colorado ahead 3-0 on back-to-back home runs off Falter in the second inning. Stallings drove in two runs by taking a sinker 414 feet into the bushes in center; Bouchard sent a fastball 400 feet into the left-field bleachers.

Falter gave up three runs on six hits.

“Would like to have a couple pitches back,” Falter said. “These guys are good hitters. They're all here for a reason, just like us. ... After the third, settled down pretty well and felt like we did a pretty good job.”

Cruz doubled off the top of the Clemente Wall in right with one out in the fourth and Hayes scored the Pirates’ first run when Tellez grounded back to Feltner, who had allowed one hit through three innings.

“Everything was working today,” Feltner said. “Felt good with my stuff, overall. Just need to finish stronger.”


Rockies: RHP Dakota Hudson (0-5, 5.93) will start Tuesday, returning home for a three-game series against San Francisco.

Pirates: RHP Mitch Keller (2-3, 5.18) will take the mound Monday to start a three-game series against the Angels.