Pedro Alvarez’s sacrifice fly in the 8th inning drove in the go ahead run and lifted the Pittsburgh Pirates to a 5-3 win on Sunday afternoon at PNC Park in front of 29,845 fans.
Alvarez was 0-for-3 on the day but for the second straight game drove in the game winning run. The highly touted rookie is 1-for-16 in his first five games.
The Pirates (25-44) took two of three from the Indians after ending a 12 game losing streak on Saturday night against the Tribe.
Starting pitcher Brad Lincoln (0-0, 6.50 ERA) received a no decision for the third straight start. Lincoln got off to a rough start allowing 2 runs in the first inning, that included 32 pitches in the inning.
Lincoln rebounded after a shaky first, going 6 innings and allowing 3 runs on 8 hits. Lincoln struck out 2 and walked 1.
Manager John Russell was thrown out of the game in the 8th inning after arguing a call that appeared to fire up his ball club who battled back in the inning.
Russell has leaned heavily on infielder Bobby Crosby of late and the move paid off today. Crosby went 3-for-3 and add an RBi in the 8th inning, driving in Garrett Jones to give the Pirates a 5-3 lead.
Crosby has started four of the past five games at shortstop.
Garrett Jones went 2-for-3, RBI, run scored, extending his hitting streak to a career-high 11 games. Jones has bumped his batting average up to .282.
The Pirates bullpen pitched three shutout innings, allowing just 3 hits.
Closer Octavio Dotel pitched the 9th for his 14th save of the season.
Brendan Donnelly (3-1) got into some trouble in the 8th but retired three consecutive batters with runners on second and third in the 8th to keep the game tied at 3-3.
The Pirates hit the road for a crucial stretch of games as the team plays 15 of their next 19 games on the road.
*Pittsburgh Pirates GM Neal Huntington held his weekly media gathering today. Huntington said “a handful of clubs have expressed some level of interest” in second baseman Aki Iwamura. However, a trade is likely not going to happen and Huntington said there will be some closure to the situation very soon.
*Huntington said today that the Pirates face a very difficult roster decision in the immediate future regarding Steve Pearce. Pearce who is recovering from a sprained ankle, performed very well in his two rehab starts with Triple-A Indy this weekend.
Pearce started in right field on Saturday and Sunday afternoon, going a combined 5-for-7 with an RBI, double, 4 runs scored, 1 SB and 3 walks.
*Pirates management has made it clear that Charlie Morton will return to the starting rotation in the near future. Morton made his 3rd rehab start over the weekend and is 0-1 with a 4.91 ERA in three starts with Indy.
Huntington said a decision hasn’t been made on whether the Pirates will activate Morton off the DL this week. Here’s what Huntington had to say today on Morton.
“He had very good velocity…..up to 96 mph….the four-seamer was explosive in the zone….the two seamer had a ton of life” Huntington said.
“The brain trust will huddle this week to decide whether to activate Morton from the disabled list and then whether to send him to Pittsburgh or Indy, Huntington added.
“We want to make the right move for us and for Charlie….. “Were not ready to make an announcement about it either way, at this point.”