Pittsburgh at Cincinnati

Pittsburgh (43-30) «0010013005102
Cincinnati (44-30)100100100381

Alvarez drives in five to power Pirates' win over Reds

CBSSports.com wire reports

CINCINNATI -- Pedro Alvarez hasn't changed anything in June, except those RBI numbers. They're way up there, just like the Pirates.

Alvarez drove in all of Pittsburgh's runs with a solo homer, bases-loaded double and a single on Thursday for a 5-3 victory over the Cincinnati Reds and a split of their high-profile NL Central series.

The Pirates remain a half-game behind second-place Cincinnati after the four-game set, keeping them virtually shoulder-to-shoulder as they chase the torrid St. Louis Cardinals.

After blowing a one-run lead in the ninth and losing 2-1 in 13 innings on Wednesday night, Pittsburgh salvaged a game behind Alvarez and a bullpen running on fumes.

"We needed a big day from a number of people today and Pedro was one of them," manager Clint Hurdle said. "There was no bigger swing than with the bases loaded, left-on-left. Beautiful."

Alvarez had an RBI single and his 16th homer off Homer Bailey, who couldn't follow his no-hitter against Pittsburgh last season with a win. After Alfredo Simon (5-3) loaded the bases in the seventh, Alvarez doubled off left-hander Tony Cingrani to snap a 2-all tie.

The five RBI were a season high for a Pirate and one shy of Alvarez's career high. The third baseman has been Pittsburgh's top run producer in June, leading the team with 48 RBI overall.

It's quite a change. Alvarez hit .180 in April and .225 in May before finding his form. He has six homers in June, second most in the NL.

"I just think it's repetition and getting the opportunity to go out and try to gain as much experience as I can from every day out there," Alvarez said.

Bryan Morris (4-2) contributed to the go-ahead rally with his first career single. He also pitched two innings, allowing one run. Left-hander Tony Watson pitched the final two innings for his second save in three chances.

The Pirates lead the season series 6-4, holding their own early in the season despite a rotation that has been sapped by injuries and a lineup that strikes out a lot and wastes chances. Under the circumstances, the way the series ended was satisfying.

"We don't expect anything less," Morris said. "It's good to not lose any ground. Definitely would have loved to have three out of four in the series, but we're not complaining about the split, especially after the hard game last night."

Jay Bruce hit another solo homer, his third of the series and his fifth in seven games. His ninth-inning shot off Jason Grilli led the way to the draining 13-inning win on Wednesday night.

The teams combined for seven homers in the series, all solo shots. Cincinnati hit four in a 4-1 win that opened it.

Brandon Cumpton made his second major-league start for Pittsburgh, giving up two runs -- one earned -- in five innings.

Bailey faced the Pirates for the first time since his no-hitter at PNC Park last September and left after six innings with the score tied at 2. He gave up six hits, throwing 113 pitches. Bailey is 8-2 career against Pittsburgh.

"They've definitely made strides over the past couple of years, but it's early," Bailey said. "They have a good club but the past couple of years, they've fallen into the pattern of fading, so we'll see. It's a long season."

Alvarez's throwing error helped the Reds get an unearned run in the first. Shin-Shoo Choo reached on Alvarez's team-high 13th error, stole second and came around on Joey Votto's single.

Another batter got hit, extending a prominent theme to the Ohio River rivals' series this season. At least one batter has been plunked in each of the 10 games, with 19 hit overall. Pirate pitchers have hit 10, Reds pitchers 9, leaving some simmering unhappiness on both sides.

Choo has been hit six times, Starling Marte and Andrew McCutchen three times each, Brandon Phillips twice, and five others one time apiece.


  • The official scorer changed a call from Wednesday night's game. Russell Martin's grounder off Bronson Arroyo's glove was originally ruled an error, leaving the Pirates' lone run unearned. It was changed to a hit.
  • The Pirates added to their depleted bullpen by calling up right-hander Duke Welker from Triple-A and optioning OF Alex Presley.
  • A day after actor James Gandolfini died, Reds 3B and New Jersey native Todd Frazier replaced his Frank Sinatra at-bat music with the theme from The Sopranos.
  • Pittsburgh struck out 8, 17, 10 and 12 times in the four games.
  • The Pirates head to the West Coast to play three against the Angels and two in Seattle. The Reds have an eight-game trip to Arizona, Oakland and Texas.
Copyright 2015 by STATS LLC. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC is strictly prohibited.
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Pedro Alvarez falls one short of his career high while driving in all five of the Pirates' runs.  (USATSI)
Pedro Alvarez falls one short of his career high while driving in all five of the Pirates' runs. (USATSI)

Players of the Game

P. Alvarez
AB 4
R 1
H 3
HR 1

H. Bailey
IP 6.0
H 6
ER 2
BB 0
K 8

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Pittsburgh Pirates
Starling Marte, LF5120021 .283
Jordy Mercer, SS5000013 .272
Andrew McCutchen, CF3210110 .287
Garrett Jones, RF4010035 .264
Pedro Alvarez, 3B4135012 .223
Gaby Sanchez, 1B4000013 .237
Neil Walker, 2B4010000 .244
Michael McKenry, C4010022 .210
Brandon Cumpton, P2000012 .000
    Bryan Morris, P1110000 .250
    Brandon Inge, PH1000000 .193
a-fouled out for Morris in the 8th
2B - Starling Marte (11, Bailey), Pedro Alvarez (6, Cingrani), Neil Walker (8, Hoover)
HR - Pedro Alvarez (16, Bailey)
RBI - Pedro Alvarez 5 (48)
2-OUT RBI - Pedro Alvarez 4 (18)
SB - Starling Marte (22, 3rd base off Bailey/Hanigan)
CS - Neil Walker (2, 3rd base by Hoover/Hanigan)
Team LOB - 7
E - Pedro Alvarez (13, Throwing), Michael McKenry (1, Throwing)
Pittsburgh Pirates
Brandon Cumpton 5521131 3.60
Bryan Morris (W,4-2) 2311020 2.48
Tony Watson (S,2) 2000010 4.08
WP - Brandon Cumpton (1)
Pitches-Strikes - Brandon Cumpton 90-53, Bryan Morris 22-17, Tony Watson 23-15
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Brandon Cumpton 7-4, Bryan Morris 3-1, Tony Watson 4-1
Batters Faced - Brandon Cumpton 20, Bryan Morris 9, Tony Watson 6
Cincinnati Reds
Shin-Soo Choo, CF4120000 .280
Xavier Paul, LF4000021 .255
Joey Votto, 1B4021000 .324
Brandon Phillips, 2B4010021 .272
Jay Bruce, RF4111012 .277
Todd Frazier, 3B3010001 .249
    Donald Lutz, LF1000000 .250
Zack Cozart, SS3110100 .244
Ryan Hanigan, C4000013 .195
Homer Bailey, P2000000 .154
    Jack Hannahan, 3B1001000 .200
2B - Zack Cozart (15, Morris)
HR - Jay Bruce (15, Cumpton)
RBI - Joey Votto (35), Jay Bruce (50), Jack Hannahan (7)
2-OUT RBI - Jay Bruce (15)
SB - Shin-Soo Choo (8, 2nd base off Cumpton/McKenry)
CS - Shin-Soo Choo (5, 2nd base by Cumpton/McKenry), Joey Votto (2, 2nd base by Cumpton/McKenry)
Team LOB - 5
E - Joey Votto (8, Throwing)
Cincinnati Reds
J.J. Hoover 2100030 4.55
Tony Cingrani 0.2100010 2.98
Homer Bailey 6622081 3.75
Alfredo Simon (L,5-3) 0.1233100 3.46
HBP - A. McCutchen (by Homer Bailey)
Pitches-Strikes - Homer Bailey 113-79, Alfredo Simon 14-9, Tony Cingrani 17-13, J.J. Hoover 25-17
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Homer Bailey 6-5, Tony Cingrani 1-0
Batters Faced - Homer Bailey 26, Alfredo Simon 4, Tony Cingrani 3, J.J. Hoover 6
Game Information
Attendance - 40929
Game Time - 3:24
Temperature - 82
Umpires - Home - Paul Emmel, First Base - Chris Conroy, Second Base - Gary Darling, Third Base - Jerry Meals