PITTSBURGH — The ball landed with a thud when it struck the FedEx sign in right-center field. For Jack Suwinski, it must have felt strange to hit something to that part of PNC Park and have it actually stay in play. Seems all Suwinski does these days at home is hit homers.
Two of his last three. Four in his previous six. Fifteen homers in 50 home games this season entering Monday’s series-opener against the Reds.
Although Suwinski did not homer in this one, he’s probably not going to complain. His two-run double in the seventh inning propelled the Pirates to a four-run rally and ultimately a 8-3 victory over the Reds.
Suwinski, whose plate discipline has been noticeably better of late, worked a 2-1 count before pouncing on a slider located down and in. A perfect pitch for him to drive, and that’s exactly what the left-handed hitter did for his second double of the game.
That was one notable offensive performance in this one. Another was the first career four-hit night for Oneil Cruz, who had three of his hits to the opposite field before pulling one to the right side in the eight inning. Oddly, all four of the base hits had an exit velocity of 94 mph or below.
Trailing, 2-0, at after four innings, Suwinski’s double pushed them in front, 4-2, and they added single runs on Kevin Newman’s single and a sacrifice fly from Zack Collins.
The Newman hit was his second single of the game and also fairly impressive. In an 0-2 hole, Newman lined a 94-mph heater into right field, textbook approach.
Pittsburgh’s lead held thanks to some sturdy work from the bullpen in relief of starter Roansy Contreras, who never returned after a short rain relay, the Pirates likely wanting to exercise caution with his right arm.
Chase De Jong and Yohan Ramirez combined for two scoreless innings apiece while each striking out two. Ramirez had to work around another error for Cruz at shortstop, his 16th in 74 games (72 starts).
Robert Stephenson pitched the ninth and gave up a solo home run.