The Pittsburgh Pirates (38-38) are back at .500 and saw Edison Volquez rebound with a strong outing and Pedro Alvarez hit his first home run in 60 at-bats, en route to an 8-1 victory over the struggling Tampa Bay Rays (31-47) on Monday night.
Volquez allowed five hits and one run in eight innings, pitching into the eighth inning for the first time in over a year.
Andrew McCutchen went 3 for 5, drove in two runs and stole two bases for the Pirates. Alvarez, who hadn’t homered since June 3, a span of 16 games, hit a three-run homer off Alex Cobb in the third inning to put the Pirates up 6-1.
With Neil Walker coming back this week and Polanco, Marte and McCutchen clicking at the top of the order, are the Pirates set to go on a run? Pedro Alvarez going on one of those hot stretches like he does from time to time could be a key.
“A lot of times people have been taking their chances with Pedro, and he’s an important part of our offense,” Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said Monday night. “We need him to fire, we need him to drive in runs and that was very good to see. Three-run homers always play well.”
Notes: Pittsburgh RHP Gerrit Cole (right shoulder fatigue) threw 83 pitches over six innings in a simulated game……Neil Walker is expected to be activated off the DL on Tuesday….Gregory Polanco went 1-4 and has hit safely in 12 of his first 13 Major League games….. Andrew McCutchen is hitting .425 in 11 Interleague games…..