PITTSBURGH (AP) — Newly promoted Oneil Cruz drove in four runs and Bligh Madris got three hits in his major league debut, sparking the Pittsburgh Pirates to a 12-1 romp over the Chicago Cubs on Monday night.
Both rookies were called up from Triple-A Indianapolis earlier in the day and they delivered right away.
Cruz, considered Pittsburgh’s top prospect, hit a three-run double to deep center field that capped a four-run third inning to push the Pirates’ lead to 7-0. He was playing in the third big league game of his career.
The 6-foot-7 Cruz also hit an RBI single in a five-run seventh as the Pirates set a season high for runs. He started the final two games of last season when he became the tallest shortstop in major league history.
Madris hit a two-run single in the second inning in his first at-bat the majors. The outfielder keyed a three-run inning that included the first of Hoy Park’s two sacrifice flies.
Madris became the first Pirates player to have a three-hit game in his debut since Jason Kendall in 1996.
JT Brubaker (1-7) pitched six scoreless innings for his first win since last Aug. 24, a span of 14 starts.
Brubaker scattered five hits while striking out five and walking three. He has a 2.65 ERA in his last six starts.
The Pirates took advantage of five walks by rookie Caleb Kilian (0-2), who was tagged for seven runs in 2 1/3 innings. Kilian was making his third career start.
Daniel Vogelbach hit a two-run double in the Pirates’ big seventh inning and Tyler Heineman’s RBI double made it 12-1.
The Cubs scored their run in the seventh on Ian Happ’s single. Happ, Rafael Ortega and Nico Hoerner had two hits apiece.
Both teams came into Monday having lost 11 of their last 13 games.
HERE COME THE KIDS
Cruz was hitting .232 with nine home runs and 11 stolen bases in 55 games at Indianapolis. Madris became the 12th Pirates player to make his major league debut this season.
Cruz is the third shortstop in big league history to have seven RBIs in his first three career games, along with Hall of Famer Paul Molitor and Trevor Story.
Madris became the first Pirates player to have a hit, RBI and stolen base in his first big league game since Andrew McCutchen in 2009.
The Cubs recalled outfielder Nelson Velazquez from Triple-A Iowa and optioned right-hander Adrian Sampson to the same club.
Velazquez, the Arizona Fall League MVP last year, is one of 15 rookies to see action for the Cubs this season. He debuted May 30.
The game was delayed for a few minutes in the bottom of the second inning when a squirrel ran on to the field.
The squirrel appeared to enter from along the stands on the third-base side. He then scampered into the left field corner.
Three members of the grounds crew were able to coax the critter into exiting the field through the bullpen gate.
Cubs: RHP Marcus Stroman (right shoulder inflammation) is expected to throw a bullpen in the next few days, his first since going on the injured list June 7.
Pirates: RHP Zach Thompson (right forearm nerve inflammation) was placed on the 15-day IL and said he believes the injury isn’t serious. The Pirates have not decided who will take Thompson’s spot in the rotation … 1B Yoshi Tsutsugo (lumbar muscle strain), SS Kevin Newman (left groin/left hamstring strains) and INF/OF Josh VanMeter (fractured right ring finger) are scheduled to begin rehab assignments with Indianapolis on Tuesday.
Cubs: Rookie RHP Matt Swarmer (1-2, 5.23 ERA) will make his fifth career start Tuesday night.
Pirates: Rookie RHP Roansy Contreras (1-1, 3.06) has allowed four runs in each of his last two starts.