Rowdy Tellez homers as the Pirates beat the Marlins 9-7 in 10 innings for 4-game series sweep

MIAMI (AP) — Oneil Cruz raced home on Jason Delay’s bunt in the 10th inning, and the Pittsburgh Pirates beat the Miami Marlins 9-7 on Sunday for a four-game sweep of their season-opening series.

Cruz opened the 10th on second as a pinch runner for Rowdy Tellez. He advanced to third when reliever Tanner Scott (0-1) committed an error on Alika Williams’ sacrifice attempt.

Delay then sent another bunt toward first and Cruz beat first baseman Jake Burger’s throw to the plate. Ke’Bryan Hayes reached on a two-out infield single and Michael A. Taylor gave Pittsburgh a 9-7 lead with a bases-loaded walk.

“Alika got a bunt down in a situation where you normally don’t bunt,” Pirates manager Derek Shelton said. “Not too many teams are able to deploy a weapon like we were able to with Oneil being there and we wanted to get him to third.”

Miami had runners on the corners with no outs in the bottom half. But Hunter Stratton retired Burger, Bryan De La Cruz and Jazz Chisholm Jr. for his first career save.

“I just tried to keep everything the same,” Stratton said. “Just kept it simple.”

Pittsburgh's bullpen allowed two runs over 20 1/3 innings in the series.

Miami trailed 7-6 before Nick Gordon connected for a pinch-hit homer against Pirates closer David Bednar (1-0) in the ninth inning.

Tellez hit a three-run drive for the Pirates, who last opened the season with a four-game sweep on the road in 1903.

“Confidence is huge in baseball," Delay said. "We’re feeling good right now and we’re going to try to ride it some more.”

Chisholm hit a grand slam and Avisaíl García also went deep for Miami.

In the top of the eighth, two spectators ran into center field and attempted to take a picture with Chisholm before they were detained and removed by stadium security.

Miami was the last big league team without a homer before Chisholm’s drive capped a five-run first against Bailey Falter.

Pittsburgh responded with three runs in the second, highlighted by Williams’ two-run triple.

Hayes added an RBI single in the fourth, but García made it 6-4 when he hit a solo drive to center in the bottom half.

Tellez struck out in his first three at-bats, but he delivered a big blow in the seventh. His three-run drive off Vladimir Gutierrez lifted the Pirates to a 7-6 lead.

“Frustrating first three at-bats but you never want to give up at-bats,” Tellez said. “Going into that one, faced (Gutierrez) before, kind of knew everything in his repertoire.”

Marlins starter Trevor Rogers completed five innings of four-run ball in his first appearance since April 19, 2023. Rogers, who missed most of last season with a left biceps strain, allowed seven hits, walked four and struck out six.

Falter was lifted after four innings. The left-hander gave up six runs and five hits.

MAKING MOVES

Before the game, the Pirates activated RHP Roansy Contreras from the paternity list and optioned LHP José Hernández to Triple-A Indianapolis. Pittsburgh also outrighted OF Canaan Smith-Njigba to Indianapolis and announced C Ali Sánchez refused an outright assignment to Indianapolis, electing to become a free agent.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Pirates: RHP Colin Holderman (illness) allowed three runs and two hits while recording two outs during a rehab outing with Indianapolis on Friday.

Marlins: RHP Edward Cabrera (right shoulder impingement) made a rehab start with Triple-A Jacksonville Sunday.

UP NEXT

Pirates: LHP Marco Gonzales will make his Pittsburgh debut when he starts the opener of a three-game series at Washington on Monday. The Nationals will start LHP MacKenzie Gore.

Marlins: RHP Max Meyer will start the opener of a three-game home set against the Los Angeles Angels on Monday. The Angels will go with RHP Chase Silseth.

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