Pirates’ Oneil Cruz blasts two hits harder than 120 mph in game unlike any other in baseball record books

MLB

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Thanks to Oneil Cruz’s almost unmatched ability to hit the ball hard, the Pittsburgh Pirates erased a four-run ninth inning deficit against the San Francisco Giants on Tuesday, and walked off with a 7-6 win in 10 innings (box score). Rookie infielder Nick Gonzales was the hero with a walk-off single back up the middle.

As for Cruz, he did something that no player had ever done in the Statcast era (since 2015) and maybe never before in baseball history. He hit two balls with a 120 mph exit velocity. The first, a 120.4 mph line drive, went for a first-inning single. The second was an absurd 121.5 mph laser that tied the game with two outs in the ninth inning. Look at this rocket:

The 120 mph exit velocity threshold is hallowed ground. Only a handful of players have — and can — hit a baseball that hard. Obviously Cruz is one of them. And not only did Cruz become the first player with two 120 mph batted balls in a single game Tuesday, he is now one of only two players with multiple 120 mph batted balls in his entire career.

Cruz’s 120 mph batted balls are the two hardest-hit balls in baseball this season. Here are the players who’ve hit a ball 120 mph since Statcast launched in 2015:

  1. Giancarlo Stanton: 14 times
  2. Oneil Cruz: 3 times (includes Tuesday)
  3. Ronald Acuña Jr.: 1 time
  4. Aaron Judge: 1 time
  5. Gary Sánchez: 1 time

That’s it. There have been 20 batted balls at 120 mph in the Statcast era and two of them came from one player Tuesday. Also, Cruz had a 116.3 mph double earlier in Tuesday’s game. He’s the first player with three 116 mph batted balls in a single game. This dude crushes the ball. He has a special, unteachable skill. Either you can hit the ball this hard or you can’t, and Cruz can.

Cruz went 3 for 5 with a double Tuesday and is 17 for 53 (.321) with seven doubles and three home runs in his last 13 games. His season batting line sits at .260/.303/.441. Tuesday’s win gave the Pirates and Giants identical 23-26 records.

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