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Jared Jones gets 10 strikeouts in his first MLB game as Pirates defeat Marlins and go 3-0

Jared Jones had promised a strong performance in his major-league debut for the Pittsburgh Pirates, and the 22-year-old right-handed pitcher lived up to that promise against the Miami Marlins.

Jared Jones had promised to perform well in his first game for the Pittsburgh Pirates, and the 22-year-old right-hander did not disappoint against the Miami Marlins.

Jones achieved 10 strikeouts — almost the franchise record for a debut — while allowing three runs on three hits and two walks in 5 1/3 innings to get the win with the Pirates beating the Marlins, 9-4, on Saturday afternoon at loanDepot park.

The Pirates are now at a 3-0 record for the first time since 2018, which was also their most recent winning season.

The 2020 second-round draft pick became the first Pirates pitcher to get 10 strikeouts in his debut since knuckleballer Tim Wakefield in a 3-2 win over the St. Louis Cardinals on July 31, 1992. The record is 11, set by Nick Maddox in 1907 and matched by Dick Hall in 1955.

Jones also became only the fifth major-league pitcher since 1900 to have at least 10 strikeouts in less than six innings in his debut, the first since Milwaukee’s Freddy Peralta had 13 in May 2018.

The Pirates’ No. 3 prospect — and ranked No. 59 overall by MLB Pipeline — Jones threw 62 of his 89 pitches for strikes by balancing a nasty slider with a four-seam fastball that averaged 97.1 mph and topped out at 99.9. The 6-foot-1, 190-pounder generated 48 swings and 22 whiffs — the most by any pitcher making his major league debut since 2009 — while getting 14 called strikes and 15 fouls.

Marlins first baseman Josh Bell was batting .424 in 19 games against his former team, including 3 for 7 in the first two games of the series, but struck out three times against Jones. Bell was one of six Marlins hitters to strike out against Jones.

The Pirates assisted Jones by giving him an early three-run lead on the way to 16 hits, their second consecutive game with double-digit hits.

When Connor Joe was called out on a close call at first in the third inning, the Pirates challenged the call and got it reversed. Joe advanced to second on a Bryan Reynolds single to left, reached third when Ke’Bryan Hayes grounded into a forceout but beat the double-play throw and scored on a line drive to left by Edward Olivares to give the Pirates a 1-0 lead. Weathers hit Henry Davis with a pitch to load the bases but got Oneil Cruz to ground out to third to end the rally.

After scoring the Pirates’ first run, Joe drove in their next by following Michael A. Taylor’s double to left with a two-out double of his own down the third-base line to make it 2-0 in the fourth. After not getting a hit in his first seven at-bats, Joe had five in his next seven. Hayes drove Joe in with a single to left for a 3-0 Pirates lead.

Jones was flawless through the initial three innings, getting five strikeouts out of the first nine batters he faced. Only Jesus Sanchez reached base, on a throwing error by Cruz at shortstop in the second.

The Marlins performed better the second time through the lineup. With two outs in the fourth, Jazz Chisholm Jr. drew a full-count walk and scored on Jake Burger’s double to right to make it 3-1. Sanchez singled past short to score Burger to cut it to 3-2.

The Pirates responded in the fifth inning by having Cruz hit a single to left field, then advancing to third base on Jared Triolo’s double. Cruz scored a run by beating Bell’s throw to home plate on Taylor’s ground ball to first. Triolo also scored due to the throw, giving the Pirates a 5-2 lead.

Jones left the game with two runners on base and two outs in the sixth inning. Sanchez hit a single off left-handed pitcher Ryan Borucki, bringing the score to 5-3.

During the four-run seventh inning, Jack Suwinski drove in a run with a single, Joe hit a double, and Reynolds brought in two more runs with a double to right field against left-handed pitcher Andrew Nardi. This extended the Pirates’ lead to 9-3.

The Pirates’ bullpen once again performed well, as Borucki, Hunter Stratton, Jose Hernandez, and David Bednar held the Marlins scoreless for the final 3 1/3 innings.

The Pirates have an opportunity to sweep the four-game series as Bailey Falter faces Trevor Rogers in a matchup of left-handed pitchers at 1:40 p.m. on Sunday before they head to Washington, D.C., for a three-game series with the Nationals.

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