Pedro Alvarez (.249 – 26 HR – 70 RBI) was a game changer for the second straight game, powering the Pirates to a 5-0 victory over the St. Louis Cardinals, taking two of three from the Cards and moving just one game back of St. Louis for the second wildcard spot.
After powering the Pirates to a 9-0 rout Tuesday night with a two homer, four RBI game, Alvarez was the Pirates spark once again breaking the game wide open, belting a three run homer with two outs in the bottom of the third for his 26th home run of the season and giving the Pirates a commanding 4-0 lead and the team never looked back as starter Wandy Rodriguez (9-13, 3.89 ERA) pitched six scoreless innings, allowing just three hits and striking out three, earning his second win as a Pirates and ninth win of the season. Tony Watson, Jason Grilli and Joel Hanrahan pitched three scoreless innings in relief to secure back-to-back shutouts for the Pirates who outscored the Cardinals 14-0 over the last two games of the series.
Alvarez who can provide that game changing ability with a just a swing of the bat that few Pirates can, went 2-4 in the game with home run, 3 RBI’s, double and two runs scored in the victory. Hitting three home runs and driving in seven runs in the Pirates last two games, Alvarez has turned the Pirates fortunes around after dropping the first game of the series as the team heads to Milwaukee for a three game series that begins a stretch of nine straight games against teams with below .500 records. The Pirates though have struggled mightily against below .500 teams in August, going 2-7 against teams with losing records since August 10th.
As the Pirates are closing in on the second wild card spot again, the team trails division leading Cincinnati (80-52) by nine games.
PEDRO ALVAREZ BY THE NUMBERS
*Hitting .404 in his last 14 games.
*Has reached base safely in 13 of 14 contests
*7 home runs and 23 RBIs vs the Cardinals this season
*26 home runs rank 1st on the team and 5th in the National League
*Leads the NL among third baseman in home runs and ranks second among third baseman in the Majors in home runs
1. Atlanta Braves (74-57)
2. St. Louis Cardinals (71-59)
3. Pittsburgh Pirates (70-60, 1GB)
4. Los Angeles Dodgers (70-61, 1.5GB)