Pittsburgh Pirates: Strong Roansy Contreras Start, Two Oneil Cruz Hits Not Enough

PITTSBURGH, PA - SEPTEMBER 03: Oneil Cruz #15 of the Pittsburgh Pirates fist bumps with third base coach Mike Rabelo #58 after hitting an RBI triple in the third inning during the game against the Toronto Blue Jays at PNC Park on September 3, 2022 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Justin Berl/Getty Images)
PITTSBURGH, PA - SEPTEMBER 03: Oneil Cruz #15 of the Pittsburgh Pirates fist bumps with third base coach Mike Rabelo #58 after hitting an RBI triple in the third inning during the game against the Toronto Blue Jays at PNC Park on September 3, 2022 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Justin Berl/Getty Images) /
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4. 39. 1. 4. Final

Despite a strong start from Roansy Contreras and a multi-hit night by Oneil Cruz, the Pittsburgh Pirates fell to the Toronto Blue Jays 4-1

For the second time in as many nights the Pittsburgh Pirates saw their offense sputter in a loss against the Toronto Blue Jays. The Pirates went 0-for-5 with runners in scoring position and stranded six base runners in a 4-1 loss against.

With the loss, the Pirates are now 49-83 on the season. This loss puts the Pirates on pace for 102 losses this season, which would mark their second consecutive 100+ loss season and third straight season with a winning percentage that would result in 100+ losses.

Another strong start from Roansy Contreras

Saturday night was Roansy Day in Pittsburgh as Roansy Contreras toed the rubber for the Pittsburgh Pirates. The young righty turned in yet another impressive start as he kept a strong Blue Jay lineup in check.

Contreras pitched 6 innings, allowing a run on four hits, two walks and five strikeouts. Contreras generated a healthy 12 swings-and-misses and limited hard contact, as the Blue Jays only put five balls in play against Contreras that had an exit velocity greater than the league average of 88.3 MPH.

Since returning from Triple-A in late August, Contreras has now made four starts. In these four starts he’s pitched 24 innings, going at least 6 innings in three of the four starts, posting a 2.63 ERA. He’s allowed just one home run, walked 11 batters and struck out 20. It is going to be a lot of fun to continue to watch Contreras grow down the stretch this season and into 2023.

Multi-hit night for Oneil Cruz

Even though the Pittsburgh Pirates were defeated 4-1, they scored the game’s first run. This run came off the bat of Oneil Cruz in an impressive at-bat.

Facing a left-handed pitcher, Cruz took a one-handed swinging that resulted in the ball leaving his bat at 95.1 MPH and traveling to the wall in right-center field. Cruz immediately hustled out of the block on his way to a triple that scored Jason Delay, giving the Pirates a 1-0 lead.

It was a night of strong at-bats for Cruz. In his first trip to the plate he jumped on the first pitch of the game and hit a 104.6 MPH rocket that was caught at the wall in left-center field. Off the bat, it looked like he had a home run. Even though he struck out following his triple, he nearly dropped a single into shallow left field. He then singled in his final at-bat.

Duane Underwood Jr. struggles in the 7th

Duane Underwood Jr. replace Contreras in the 7th inning. With the game tied at 1, Underwood Jr. quickly got himself into a jam. Unfortunately, it was a jam that, despite coming close, he would not escape.

After getting the first out of the 7th inning, Underwood Jr. allowed a base hit and walked a batter. He then uncorked a wild pitch before getting a huge strikeout. With two outs and runners on second and third it looked like Underwood Jr. may be able to wiggle off the hook.

Underwood Jr. would then issue a walk to load the bases. While he remained just one out away from escaping the jam, he could not pull it off as Bo Bichette hit a bases clearing double off of Underwood Jr. to make the score 4-1 Blue Jays.

Robert Stephenson would replace Underwood Jr. In his second outing as a Pirate, Stephenson struck out a pair in 1.1 scoreless innings pitched.

Next. Prospects Who Deserve a Look in September. dark

JT Brubaker (4.39 ERA, 3.65 FIP) is set to come off the paternity list to start for the Pittsburgh Pirates on Sunday afternoon. Ross Stripling (2.94 ERA, 2.96 FIP) is set to start for the Blue Jays. First pitch from PNC Park is scheduled for 12:05 PM ET.

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