PITTSBURGH – Jack Suwinski hit his third homer in the game in the ninth inning, giving the Pittsburgh Pirates a 4-3 walk-off victory over the San Francisco Giants on Sunday to avoid a three-game sweep.
The rookie drove a shooter from side arm Tyler Rogers (0-3) to the right of his second game-ending home run of the season after hitting a June 4 against the Arizona Diamondbacks.
Suwinski became the first rookie in major league history to have a three-homer match that included a walk-off home run, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. He also became the first Pirates player with multiple walk-off homeruns in a single month since Wally Westlake in September 1947, according to ESPN Stats & Information research.
“I was just thinking, ‘No way, man. No way,’ ‘Suwinski said. “That guy is hard to beat. When you come from the low down there, it’s not an easy fight.”
Pirates manager Derek Shelton spoke to Suwinski at the bottom of the eighth and asked if he was ready to go deep a third time. Shelton said he was told, “No.”
“I was not trying to think about it,” Suwinski said. “You start trying to do too much, and then you just blow it or whatever. I was just trying not to think about it and just focus on what the pitcher had.”
The Pirates add another potentially effective rookie on Monday as they recall shortstop Oneil Cruz, the organization’s top prospect, from Triple-A Indianapolis. Shelton confirmed after the match that Cruz and outfielder Bligh Madris will be brought up to the major league club. Cruz, who appeared in two games for the Pirates last season and hit a homerun, hits .233 with nine homeruns, 35 RBIs and a .761 OPS for Indianapolis this season.
Suwinski is the second Pirates rookie to hit three homers in a game, joining Andrew McCutchen (August 1, 2009). Josh Bell was the last player to hit three in a game for Pittsburgh on July 1, 2019.
The 23-year-old Suwinski took a sinker from starter Alex Cobb deep for a solo shot in the fourth before doing the same to Sam Long for a 3-2 lead in the sixth. He has 11 homeruns in 47 games this season, drawing with Bryan Reynolds for the team lead.
Thairo Estrada homered Pittsburgh closer to David Bednar leading from the top of the ninth, equalizing the match to 3. Bednar (3-1) worked on his second inning of relief and knocked out two of the last three batters to finish the ninth .
Mitch Keller gave up two runs (one earned) after three hits with four strikeouts in six innings for the Pirates, extending his series of starts with fewer than three runs allowed for four. He has delivered eight earned runs in 28 1/3 innings (2.54 ERA) in his last six games (four starts).
“It’s certainly nice, but tomorrow you have to flush it out as if nothing had happened,” Keller said. “You have to keep going. That’s my mentality … Just keep a good routine and keep going.”
Cobb allowed two runs on four hits in four innings during his return from the 15-day injured list with a sprain in the neck.
“I think he was solid after a long break,” Giants manager Gabe Kapler said. “First of all, he came out healthy. I know he’s not going to be happy not to get out of the fight with a lead, but he got through exactly what our track record was for him.”
After a mistake and two walks filling the bases for San Francisco with no outs in the first, Joc Pederson dribbled a two-runs single past Hoy Park at second base.
Park went yard on a sinker from Cobb to right midfield in the third and cut it to 2-1 with his first home run of the season before Suwinski’s first homer an inning later.
“Sometimes you just have to tilt the cap,” Cobb said. “It was a bad pitch (for Suwinski). But it’s his day. Sometimes the story is about a guy. It was an impressive game by him.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.